I love a good green salad. In my group of friends and family, I am the salad girl. As a family, we have a big bowl of salad every night and when we go to a friend’s house for dinner, I usually bring salad. With that in mind, I am always on the lookout for a new twist on my green salad staple. The other day at the grocery store I found some amazing organic figs that I couldn’t pass up. Soon as I got home I went through my Barefoot Contessa cookbooks and sure enough, I found Ina’s Warm Fig and Arugula Salad.
I love making dishes that are based on a single ingredient and finding the perfect recipe to make that particular ingredient shine. So when the figs crossed my path, I couldn’t resist. And for me, ripe figs are key. Fig season in the northeast is usually early summer and then later summer/early fall. (Now is the time people!) I guess if the figs aren’t as ripe, you can just roast them a bit longer – but in-season ingredients are the best.
This salad (from Make It Ahead) is a cinch to put together and it looks beautiful plated. (And I’m sure you’ve all heard enough about “good olive oil” but really with salads, the vinaigrette can make it or break it. Olio Santo is GOOD olive oil.) On their own the ingredients are simple and light, but the complex combination of Roquefort cheese with figs and walnuts make the dish hearty enough for lunch or an appetizer. I’m definitely bringing this to my next end of summer dinner party!
Ina Garten’s Warm Fig and Arugula Salad
¼ cup aged sherry vinegar
1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon honey
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup good olive oil
8 to 12 ripe fresh figs, depending on their size
1 cup whole walnut halves (4 ounces)
8 to 10 cups baby arugula (9 ounces)
8 ounces crumbled Roquefort cheese
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, honey, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. While whisking, slowly add the olive oil. Set aside.
Remove the stems from the figs with a small knife. Depending on their sizes, cut the figs in half or quarters through the stem end. Place the figs and walnuts together in a single layer on a sheet pan and roast for 5 to 15 minutes, depending on the ripeness of the figs, until they begin to release some of their juices.
Meanwhile, place the arugula in a large bowl, add the vinaigrette, and toss well. Distribute the arugula among 6 salad plates, add the Roquefort, and then place the warm figs and walnuts on top. Serve immediately.
Copyright 2014, Make It Ahead by Ina Garten, Clarkson Potter/Publishers, All Rights Reserved