I pretty much stick to the recipe when I make this dish, however I did double the olives and figs per serving. Also, while marinating the chicken in advance definitely enhances the flavor, don't worry if you forget!
Fig and Olive Chicken (adopted from Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, October 2004)
16 sliced pimiento-stuffed green olives
8 dried figs, halved
3 tbsp light brown sugar
3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic gloves, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
6 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken-breast halves
1/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
- Combine first 11 ingredients in a zip-top plastic bag. Seal and marinate in refrigerator for 4 hours, turning bag occasionally.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Remove chicken mixture from bag, place in a 13 x 9 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Pour broth over mixture, and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until done. Drain chicken mixture, discard liquid. Yield: 6 servings
Why olive oil?
As a monosaturated fat, olive oil has many health benefits. In addition to lowering bad cholesterol, it contains high levels of the powerful antioxidant polyphenols. The Mediterranean diet advocates replacing bad fats like butter and animal fats with mono and polysaturated fats (think canola oil and nuts) because they contain linolenic acid. This type of omega-3 fatty helps to moderate blood pressure, decrease sudden heart attack, and improve blood vessel health.
"Mediterranean Diet: Choose This Heart-healthy Diet Option." Mayo Clinic. Web. 19 June 2010. <http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/mediterranean-diet/CL00011>.