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Dinner Tonight! | THE LIGHTER SIDE

Bring on the Figgy Dressing

September 20, 2000|DONNA DEANE

I picked up too many figs and pears at the farmers market, but they were so gorgeous I couldn't resist. So I came up with a way to use them in a salad of smoked chicken with a dressing of balsamic vinegar and Port, a wonderful accompaniment to the fruit.

Fresh figs are very perishable and bruise easily, so handle them with care. Cover and refrigerate them no longer than two to three days. Underripe fruit can be held at room temperature out of direct light; just turn it frequently as it ripens. Pears will ripen at room temperature, but you can speed the process by placing them in a paper bag.

If you're like me, though, and end up with too much fruit, pop the pears into the refrigerator until two or three days before you need them, then set them on the counter to ripen.

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Deane's book "Low Fat Kitchen" includes more than 100 recipes created for this column. To order, call (800) 246-4042. The price is $20.45 including shipping and sales tax.

Smoked Chicken and Pear Salad With Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette

Active Work Time: 10 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 30 minutes

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

2 figs, each cut into 8 pieces

1/2 cup Port

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon honey

1 shallot, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Salt

Freshly ground pepper

6 cups mixed greens

1/2 pound smoked chicken breast, skin removed and sliced 1/4-inch thick

1 large ripe pear, cored and sliced

* Reduce vinegar in small saucepan over medium-low heat to 1/4 cup. Remove from heat, pour into bowl and let cool.

* Place figs, Port and water in small saucepan. Bring to boil, then simmer until figs are tender, 10 minutes. Drain figs in strainer over small saucepan. Chop figs and set aside.

* Reduce fig juice over medium-low heat to 1/4 cup. Add to vinegar along with chopped figs. Stir in honey, shallot, garlic and lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste.

* Arrange 1 1/2 cups mixed greens on each of 4 serving plates. Divide chicken among plates and surround with pear slices. Season chicken with pepper. Serve with fig dressing.

4 servings. Each serving: 233 calories; 124 mg sodium; 48 mg cholesterol; 3 grams fat; 24 grams carbohydrates; 19 grams protein; 1.5 grams fiber.

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Leaf plate from Saks Fifth Avenue Home Stores.

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