The Monday before last, I boarded a Southwest flight from Sacramento to Burbank armed with two pounds of fresh figs and two jars of homemade fig jam thanks to my friend Emily. You may have noticed it is fig season. Brian and I welcome it with banners and open arms and a ticker tape parade, such is our adoration and obsession with figs.
Emily and I have been friends for 32 years, having met in elementary school. We haven't lived in the same town since we were twelve. In fact, this year is the first time in 23 years that we are living in the same state. I went up for the weekend to celebrate her sister's baby shower and to meet a friend's newborn. It was a glorious weekend of good friends and good food. If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know it is also where I learned to saber a bottle of sparkling wine.
That good food included a roasted bean salad with a plum marmalade vinaigrette at a restaurant in Sebastopol. It was so good I couldn't stop thinking about it. Usually, I am fretting about where my next meal is coming from. In this case, I was fretting about when I could eat this glorious combination of beans, chickpeas and toasted pecans again. Within a week of arriving home, I recreated the salad which I am so happy to share with you! One of the best parts of the salad is the vinaigrette which I made using Emily's homemade fig preserves. Whoa yum!
If you have ever disliked green beans or think the only way to prepare them is to open a can of them and drown them in Ranch dressing, try this recipe. You won't be disappointed!
1 pound green beans, washed and trimmed
1 15.5-ounce can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt (or Kosher)
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
2 tablespoons fig preserves (apricot, plum, or apple jams/jellies are all fine substitutes)*
1 tablespoon good quality balsamic vinegar (use apple cider vinegar if you are using apricot or apple preserves)
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
*Look for something with low to no added sugar or sweetened only with fruit juice. Do not use any jams or jellies that contain sugar substitutes as it will ruin the flavor of the dish.
Preheat oven to 425 F.
In a large bowl, toss together the green beans, chickpeas, olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread the beans on a rimmed half sheet pan (also called a large jelly roll pan - 16.75 x 12 inch). You may need to use two baking sheets. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes.
In the meantime, make the fig vinaigrette. Whisk together the preserves and the vinegar. While whisking, slowly add the olive oil. Set aside.
After the beans have roasted for 20 minutes, pull the pan out of the oven. Sprinkle the pecans over the beans and roast an additional 5 minutes.
When the beans have finished roasting, remove them from the oven and place the bean mixture in a large bowl. Pour the fig vinaigrette over it and toss to coat. Serve immediately.
Nutritional awesomeness: Green beans are a very good source of fiber, vitamins A & C plus K, folate, and manganese. Folate is instrumental in DNA repair. Chickpeas (garbanzo beans) are also a good source of folate and manganese as well as Vitamin B6. Manganese supports bone health and collagen production.