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green salad with figs & goat cheese

I suppose it’s always a good thing to have something worthwhile out in front of us left undone, unknown, untasted. Until last week it was the fig – the now-known-to-me, eversweet-glorious fig! Ali has spoken of figs a number of times over the past several years, but – I’m so embarrassed to admit this – I only knew them in Newtons. Of course I knew they were capable of  much more, but I just took that on faith, having little more than that to go by. That, and photographs I’d seen that left me thinking figs must be quite luscious. And undeniably sexy.

Upon my first bite, drizzled in olive oil and pomegranate balsamic vinegar, I was enthralled, and my first impulse – again, I’m so embarrassed – was to look for someone I might blame for not having pushed these on me! (Wasn’t that my mother’s job?) I quickly abandoned that idea and took another bite. And then another and another, until there was no more.

In the days since, I’ve tried them on their own and they didn’t compare (at all) with the figs drizzled as I first tasted them. This week, and maybe even this season, this is my favorite salad. It’s ridiculously easy to put together, so please do! It’s one amazingly luscious bowlful.

A NOTE on the ingredients      –     My husband and I recently discovered an olive oil store (who knew?) in the town next to ours. We picked up a bottle of lemon-infused olive oil, which we’re crazy for, and that’s the oil used in this salad. (You can find similar oils in most well-stocked stores, but I’ll include a link at the bottom of the post, because this one is better than some others I’ve tasted.) And when I was visiting Ali, she gifted me with a bottle of pomegranate-infused balsamic vinegar. (Love it, Ali!) This vinegar may be harder to find – BUT – you might find other fruit-infused balsamics that would work too. Or use a plain balsamic with a dash of Pom (pomegranate concentrate) available at most stores. Or simply use an aged balsamic.

(Please see below for variations on the theme, resulting in a similarly scrumptious salad.)

Green Salad with Figs & Goat Cheese

  • a mix of beautiful fresh salad greens
  • goat cheese, crumbled
  • figs, cut into wedges (Brown Turkey figs were used here)

Vinaigrette:

  • Lemon-infused extra-virgin olive oil
  • fruit-infused balsamic vinegar (pomegranate if you can find it)
  • pinch of salt & pepper to taste (though you won’t need much)

Mix the vinaigrette in a small, lidded jar, 3 parts olive oil, 1 part vinegar. Add pinch salt and sprinkle of pepper. Dip a leaf in and taste. Adjust if necessary. (You may decide you like a little more vinegar.)

This dressing has such wonderful flavor that the salad only requires a little. I toss the greens alone with a bit of dressing, then add the figs and goat cheese on top, and finally a delicate drizzle over all.

Variations on a theme: The same salad greens and dressing, with sliced pear (or crisp apple),  blue cheese and toasted walnuts. We’ll soon be coming into pomegranate season – try apple slices, blue cheese or goat, and a scattering of those beautifully tangy scarlet seeds. I’ll probably forget that I told you this and remind you again later. It’s a beautiful salad for the holidays.

Talk to me ~

So now I’m wondering: Is there a food you haven’t tasted yet but are somehow intrigued by, still intimidated by, or yearn to try? Or a food you only recently discovered and wondered, “Where have you been all my life?” Please share!

Sources:

For Olive Oilwww.oilerie.com

For Pomegranate-infused Balsamic – this came from the Chateau St. Jean winery in Sonoma – call  1-800-543-7572


7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Nova #

    Spree, Spree, Spree

    So nice to see you flitting around the kitchen and photo studio. The fig photo is awesome and the salad more than inviting. Thanks for sharing and for the helpful links!!!

    Nova

    September 22, 2011
  2. Darlyn Nowack #

    You are remarkable! Such wonderful and delicious recipes just keep coming. How do you do this? I am in Awwwwwwh

    September 22, 2011
  3. Ashley #

    OK, crazy, but I, too, fell in love with the fig over the weekend! (And poor me, my mama never introduced me to them neither.) I’m blanking on the name, but the small spring green ones that you eat in a few luscious bites. Oh my.
    I’m also intrigued by the beauty of the persimmon. We walk by a neighborhood tree often, and I am stunned by the gorgeous color and shape. Spree, what would you do with such a thing?!

    September 22, 2011
    • Oh no! Persimmon? There’s another one! I’ll have to get back to you.

      September 23, 2011
  4. Darlyn Callas #

    Okay…another favorite of mine that I don’t indulge in often….why? because the fig doesn’t appear readily on the average grocery store shelf. One must venture on to the more upscale, specialty store. So, I did and provided my family with a most remarkable salad that is going down in the “foods to take to friend’s homes so that I can impress them” file. Thank you Ani 🙂 in advance
    for making me look fantastic!

    September 25, 2011
  5. Undeniably sexy that fig is! The first time I ate one it was wrapped in prosciutto. And I was a vegetarian.They were presented at a small gathering, and I took a deep breath and decided that when in Rome…The sweet fruit squished into my mouth while the salty wrapping made my mouth do a heavenly 180. It is such a delicious fruit when paired with opposites, like goat cheese, pomegranate, and lemon! Must try this!

    September 30, 2011
  6. C #

    I love this recipe but I really like that you gave alternatives. I am not mad about figs but pear or apple would be a success, with my family. Thanks.

    March 1, 2012

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