Figs, arugula and goat cheese, oh my! You may not need a recipe to know that these three aphrodisiac ingredients are perfect together. (Read more about what makes figs, arugula and cheese so aphrodisiac.) But you’re going to want to try experience how fig expert Sondra Bernstein, chef/owner of Sonoma’s The Girl and the Fig, combines grilled fig, arugula and goat cheese with pancetta, pecans and a ruby port vinaigrette.
This salad makes a perfect appetizer for an aphrodisiac dinner for two but it’s also hearty enough to serve as a summer lunch.
Grilled Fig and Arugula Salad
For the vinaigrette:
- 3 dried Black Mission figs
- 1 cup ruby port
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 tablespoon minced shallots
- 1/4 cup blended oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the salad:
- 1/2 cup pancetta diced
- 12 fresh figs halved
- 6 bunches baby arugula
- 1 cup pecans toasted
- 1 cup goat cheese crumbled (preferably Laura Chenel Chévre)
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
To prepare the vinaigrette:
- Pour the port in a bowl, add the figs, and rehydrate until soft. Transfer the port and figs to a saucepan. Reduce the port over medium heat to ½ cup, about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the port mixture to a food processor and add the vinegar. Purée until smooth. Add the shallots and slowly whisk in the oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper to taste.
To prepare the salad:
- Sauté the pancetta in a small sauté pan over medium heat until the pancetta is crisp. Set the pancetta aside, reserving the “oil.” Brush the figs with the pancetta “oil.” Grill the figs for 45 seconds on each side. In a stainless-steel bowl, toss the arugula, pecans, pancetta, and goat cheese with the vinaigrette.
- Divide the salad among 6 chilled plates and surround it with the grilled figs. Grind the pepper over each salad.
Sondra Bernstein is the proprietor of The Girl and the Fig in Sonoma. She is considered a culinary pioneer not to mention a leading authority on cooking with figs. For more figasmic recipes, check out Sondra’s book, Plats du Jour; the girl & the fig’s Journey Through the Seasons in Wine Country
grilled fig salad photo by Steven Krause
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