Figs are a quintessential, late summer fruit. Suited perfectly to California’s warmish winters and endless sun, they thrive in our Mediterranean-like climate. I have gobbled more than my fair share of Fig Newton Cookies, but have never really been a huge fan of fresh figs, mostly because, though they are sweet, they don’t have much flavor unless they are cooked or dried. But I keep trying, optimistically buying pints at the farmers’ market each week, only to have them covered with nasty white mold because I never get around to using them.
But I've been inspired by glossy magazine pictures of prosciutto-wrapped figs with goat cheese as an appetizer, and think I’ve finally figured out what to do with these teardrop-shaped fruits. Combining these ingredients creates a perfect trifecta of flavor (salty, tangy, and sweet) that tastes amazingly delicious served deconstructed atop a bed of baby field greens that have been tossed in a light vinaigrette. Presented on a platter, this salad is beautiful enough to impress your foodie friends yet simple enough to be enjoyed on a weeknight.
Figs can be deep purple to yellowish green, depending on the variety, but all should have smooth skin and soft, yielding flesh when they are ripe. Keep them in the refrigerator, and use them within a few days of purchase because they grow can grow fur faster than a werewolf under a full moon.
Fig, Prosciutto and Goat Cheese Salad
1 bag of mixed baby greens
10 ripe figs, stemmed and quartered
3 slices of prosciutto
4 thin slices of red onion
2 ounces of goat cheese, crumbled
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons of Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar (available at Trader Joes)
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
Pan-fry the prosciutto for a few minutes to crisp slightly, chop, then set aside.
Make dressing. In a bowl, mix vinegar, honey, and Dijon mustard. Drizzle in oil while whisking to emulsify. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Place lettuce in a large salad bowl and toss with about half the dressing, just to coat, taking care not to over dress the leaves or they will become soggy.
Lightly spread the lettuce out on a medium platter. Top with figs, red onion slices, prosciutto, and goat cheese. Season with a bit more salt and pepper and serve immediately.