Chicken with Lemon Balm and Roasted Figs

The curry provides a little background texture; the dish itself is not hot. You can substitute mint for the lemon balm if you wish, and add 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind. Serve with rice and stir-fried snow peas. Figs are not native to Canada, although there are people trying to grow them on the West Coast. If you want to go local, use plums instead.

2 tablespoons chopped ginger

2 tablespoons chopped garlic

2 teaspoons garam masala

¼ cup fresh lemon balm, chopped

1 tablespoon lemon juice

¼ cup vegetable oil

4 boneless chicken breasts, skin on

Salt and freshly ground pepper

8 figs, halved and stem end trimmed

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

½ teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ cup orange juice

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Mix ginger, garlic, garam masala, lemon balm, lemon juice and 3 tablespoons oil in a food processor or by hand. Set aside.

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and fry chicken, skin side down for 2 minutes or until skin is golden. Turn over and brown second side. Remove chicken from pan and rub with reserved lemon balm mixture. Place chicken in an oven-proof baking dish and bake for 10 minutes.

Toss figs with balsamic vinegar and sugar and olive oil. Place, cut side down, around the chicken. Add orange juice. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes longer or until juices run clear. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes.

Cut breasts into ½-inch slices and surround with figs and any juices. Serves 4.