Sunday, November 6, 2011

FIG SALAD WITH WATERCRESS + BACON



For years, Abby has been telling me tales about a delicious fig salad she makes. Thanks to the hot and sunny weather we had through the month of October, our fig tree has been pumping out tons of juicy fruit. I get giddy when I can step out of my kitchen door to pick food for supper. Yippee!

This salad has that dreamy combination of sweet, salty, creamy, and peppery flavors.... a party in each bite. And there is a lot of room for playful substitutions here. You could try arugula or frisee instead of watercress. Blue cheese could stand in for the chevre, or you can skip the cheese all together. I also think roasted hazelnuts would be tasty. And Abs says that pomegranate seeds are a nice addition as well... yum!

INGREDIENTS
  • 4 fresh figs
  • 4 slices of bacon or pancetta
  • 1 bunch watercress
  • 2 tablespoons chevre
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 8 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • optional: toasted hazelnuts, pomegranate seeds 


Wash and thoroughly dry watercress. Scatter leaves, with some stems left on, over 4 salad plates.

Slice figs and nestle them into the watercress.

Crumble chevre over each plate.

Cook bacon until crispy. (I suggest cooking the bacon at the last minute so that it's warm going into the salad. It really makes a difference.)

While bacon is cooking, take a jar (that has a lid), pour in balsamic and salt. Give them a stir to blend a bit. Add the olive oil. Put lid on jar, and shake it like crazy. My kids love to do this part. Take off lid and you've got emulsified dressing ready to go.

Crumble warm bacon onto the salad. Lightly dress each plate with a spoonful or two of dressing. (You will have dressing left over to stick in the fridge for your next salad....never a bad thing.)

Eat and enjoy!


serves 4

WHAT ELSE IS COOKING?

31 comments:

  1. WOW! Now that is my kind of salad - simple yet full of flavor and texture. I have a few figs I bought the other day, now I just need to pop down to whole foods for watercress. Happy Sunday to you!

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  2. Thanks Lisa. And Happy Sunday to you too! :)

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  3. A delightful salad and combination!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  4. I am so jealous that you have figs growing in your yard!! I have a bunch of the non-edible crab apples.. not even good for making jelly.

    The salad sounds delicious, I love sweet and savory combinations

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  5. Thanks Rosa:)

    Stephanie, We do feel lucky to have figs. We planted a tiny little stick of a tree 5 years ago and now it is a giant beast of a tree. Though the squirrels to eat most of the fruit!

    -E

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  6. You know, I have never even seen a fig tree. I'll just have to imagine you plucking this beautiful fruit from your own personal tree. That salad is beautiful. (BTW...you may not want to know what is 'black pudding'...pork, grains, spices...and ahem...pork blood). It looks and tastes like sliced sausage with herbs in it.

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  7. Sweet, peppery and porky! Yum! My three fave flavors all in one.

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  8. Hey Sarah, A fig tree would be so up your alley.... The fruit is great of course, but the beautiful leaves and their earthy smell may is the real treat. And the black pudding actually sounds pretty tasty;)

    Carolyn, well said!

    -E

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  9. Gorgeous looking salad! I too am envious of your fig tree - how wonderful it must be to pick them just outside your door. Beautiful photos!

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  10. beautiful ingredients combined into one gorgeous salad, I would definitely add some pomegranate seeds for some extra zest :)

    also.. congrats on your magazine feature,
    it's amazing!!! I'm surprised you don't brag about it :)

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  11. Wow, this salad looks gorgeous. I love cooking but sadly my affinity with food ends there - I'm rubbish in the garden! Would love to be able to grow my own vegetables at some point...

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  12. This is my kind of food. I often crispy prosciutto and add it to fruity bites. Your pics are wonderful and watercress is perfect with this.

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  13. Lovely mixing of flavors and textures. Yum. I love salad.

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  14. Ok, hold everything! what magazine feature and where???How did I miss this? I try to be vigilant when I scour your page. Beautiful pictures as usual. Gorgeous salad. I love fresh figs, are these European or Asian figs? I also love them dried too. Makes for great fig newtons.

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  15. Renee, thanks! It does feel so good to pick your own goodies in the yard. Now I just need to get the rest of my veggie garden as happy as my fig tree.

    M, You are so sweet. Isn't Nice Mag great? I was thrilled to be included in their food issue.

    thelittleloaf, I cannot take any credit for the health of my fig tree. We just stuck it in the ground and it keep growing, and growing, and growing. I'd say it's just dumb luck on our part;)

    Angela, you are so right... prosciutto and fruit are great together. Yum!

    Melanie, Thanks!

    Oli, M is talking about Nice Mag ( I have a link on my sidebar). It's a beautifully designed mag out of South Africa. It's definitely worth a look - there's so much good stuff to see. And I have no idea what kind of figs I have growing. Must find out:)


    xxxooo to all
    -E

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  16. Perfect salad while figs are still at the markets! I've got some figs in the refrigerator and I'm thinking this is going to be my lunch today, it looks so good!

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  17. I'm supposed to be a vegetarian, and yet here I sit drooling of the bacon :). I might have to break the diet for once LOL.

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  18. wimpyvegetarian, I hope you liked the salad!

    Jenn, So funny... bacon is so damned hard to resist;)

    -E

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  19. Oh my, this salad was scrumptious. Each ingredient was participating in a nuanced and extremely friendly conversation with the other. All I could do was get involved, and with a smile.

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  20. your photos are beautiful! I need to get myself a much better camera and try and find some time to cook in daylight hours! anna xx

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  21. Thanks P:)

    Anna, Thanks so much for the kind words. Taking pix in day time hours makes all the difference....so much easier to get a good shot:)

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  22. This looks delicious, but I can't find fresh figs anywhere around here...

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  23. Your photo of the figs is absolutely dreamy!!! Wow!

    I've never really been a huge fan of figs. I think I've just never had good figs. This salad looks like a fantastic way to enjoy good figs. I love that it really lets the figs shine.

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  24. Yadsia, Sorry you cannot get fresh figs where you live. Can you find fresh pears? I think they would make a nice substitution.

    Jennifer, Thanks so much and I am honored to make you reconsider figs! They are worth another try.... Make sure they are super fresh, not at all wrinkly, and eat them right away. So yummy!

    -E

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  25. What a great sweet-savory mix of flavors! Hazelnuts and pomegranate seeds sound like great additions too.

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  26. Eeeeeep guess whhhaaaaat!! I finally got to try fresh figs over the weekend:) I had a shrimp and fig and tomato and balsamic and other things salad at a lovely restaurant in Kaneohe, during one of my last nights in Hawaii. It was everything I've dreamed of, after eating many a fig newton, and spending many an hour admiring my fruitless Ficus tree growing in my bedroom (wrong kind of Ficus).

    Looks like a wonderful salad, made all the more wonderful by your being able to pick a component of it just a few steps from your door:)

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  27. Emma, Hawaii sounds dreamy! I hope you guys are having an amazing time - how could you not? Eat some poke for me! Safe travels to you:)
    -E

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  28. I am SO jealous of all your figs! I've barely had any this season, much to my distress. This salad looks like a wonderful way to eat your bounty.

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  29. I had a similar salad the other night except it was arugala, figs, and proscuitto! Bacon is my favorite food so im super excited for this rendition!

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  30. Emma, Wish I could share some figs with you! Though I think they wouldn't make the trans-Atlantic voyage;)

    Lucie, Ohhh I bet the salad was delish. Abby usually makes this salad with arugula too. And to tell you the truth, any salad with arugula is a friend of mine:) Thanks for stopping by.
    -E

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  31. thanks for this blogs/these suggestions! was out in our orchard tonight. Our figs look the biggest and fattest and juiciest for years but not quite ready to pick. (my mouth is watering! ) Can't wait to try these recipes!

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So good to hear from you... I appreciate each and every note you leave for me!

Thanks,
E

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