One of the benefits of cooking with fresh and seasonal ingredients is that they don’t need a lot of embellishment to shine.  I love trekking down to the farmers market on the weekend to see what is in season and creating a dish around a few simple items.

Figs are the ugly stepsister to the sexier fruits of summer.  You don’t see people waxing poetic about these tasty beauties.  I have to admit that it took me a long time to appreciate their luscious sweetness and chewy texture but they have moved to the top of my list as one of my favorite new ingredients to experiment with.

Sweet creamy figs pair beautifully with sharp salty flavors like blue cheese.  You can toss this salad together in five minutes but it’s a nice alternative to the usual mixed green salad and would be a nice starter for a dinner party.  What’s your favorite way to enjoy figs?

Arugula, fig and blue cheese salad

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 large bunch arugula
  • 1 pint fresh figs, cut into quarters
  • 4 oz smoked blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup toasted chopped hazelnuts

Method:

Combine the balsamic and mustard in a small bowl and slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking, season with salt and pepper.  In a large bowl combine the greens with the figs and blue cheese, add a few tablespoons of dressing and toss lightly to combine.  Sprinkle the hazelnuts over the top and serve.