Food & Drink

Top recipes from California Fig Fest chef contest

Figs grown in the Central Valley remain in demand by chefs, home cooks and food manufacturers.
Figs grown in the Central Valley remain in demand by chefs, home cooks and food manufacturers.

The California Fig Fest drew hundreds of people to the Fresno State campus on Aug. 15. As part of the event, organizers held a cooking competition involving some of the region’s best chefs. Here are the winners:

▪ The VIP judges picks: First place, The Vineyard; second place, Rosetti’s Fine Foods and third place, Guri’s Grub House and Taps

▪ The People’s Choice picks: First place, The Painted Table; second place, Guri’s; and third place, Elbow Room Bar & Grill

Here are a some of the recipes.

Crispy polenta cake with tomato fennel jam and figs

By The Painted Table

Polenta cake (see separate recipe)

Tomato fennel jam (see separate recipe)

4-5 slices, crispy prosciutto

4-5, calimyrna figs

1 cup, white cheddar cheese

1 cup, micro arugula

Extra virgin olive oil

Fig balsamic reduction (see separate recipe)

Place 2-inch square of polenta on buttered sheet pan and top with 1 tablespoon of tomato fennel jam. Break off a 2-inch piece of crisp prosciutto and place on tomato fennel jam.

Place a slice or two of calimyrna fig on the prosciutto and top with 2-3 teaspoons of grated white cheddar cheese. Place in 400-degree oven for 8-10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

To finish, drizzle with the fig balsamic reduction, extra virgin olive oil and top with micro arugula. Serve warm.

Tomato Fennel Jam

21/2 pounds, Roma tomatoes

1 large yellow onion, diced

3 fennel bulbs

Zest of half of a lemon

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon ground coriander

2 tablespoon honey

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

Cut fennel bulbs in half, drizzle with olive oil and roast in 400-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until softened.

Meanwhile, puree the tomato and onion in a food processor and place in medium saucepan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high heat. Stirring frequently, cook until onions are translucent and most liquid is evaporated. When fennel is roasted, puree in food processor and add to the tomato/onion.

Add the lemon zest, red pepper flakes, coriander, honey and vinegar.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Continue cooking on medium-low heat for 10 more minutes.