Fig and Walnut Salad

A few days ago I bought fresh figs at Costco! As much as I endeavor to get most of my produce from the farmers market, there are some things that just don’t grow in Hawaii. Like artichokes and apples. And figs. So, I buy those things from California or Mexico, or New Zealand. But, back to my figs . . . they are pretty and purple and just soft enough and sweet enough to be delicious. Not to mention sexy.

So, in an effort to counteract all those sweet treats that I’ve been cooking, I opted for a nice fresh salad. Thinking about what I wanted in my salad besides figs and lettuce (and that I had on hand) I came up with: nuts, cheese, arugula, craisins, and apples. And, since I was thinking about craisins I decided to make a cranberry vinaigrette. Yum! I didn’t thin out my vinaigrette with some juice (thus the somewhat less than appealing pink globs in the picture) but I’ve included this step in the recipe. I assure you that, even un-thinned, the dressing tasted amazingly good!

Fig and Walnut Salad with Cranberry White Balsamic Vinaigrette

serves 2, doubles (or triples) easily

Salad

  • 4 cups lettuce (I used Manoa lettuce and some arugula, but any young greens would do)
  • 6 fresh figs, sliced into about sixths
  • 1/2 apple, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 1/3 cup craisins
  • 1/4 cup cheese, diced or thinly shaved (I used Dubliner, but a manchego¬†would be quite nice)

Vinaigrette

  • 1 medium shallot (I just used a bit of onion, but a shallot would be even better)
  • 2 tbsp. craisins
  • 3 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
  • dash of salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup good tasting extra virgin olive oil
  • cranberry juice

Compose your salad on individual plates or bowls (I use pasta bowls for my large salads). Start with the lettuces, then apple slices, figs, walnuts, cheese, and finish with the bright pop of the craisins. Alternately, you could just toss everything together in a large bowl and serve it family style with a pair of tongs.

To make the dressing, finely chop the shallot and craisins together in a blender or small food processor. Add a dash of salt and a few grinds of pepper, the vinegar, and a splash of cranberry juice. Blend together. With processor running, slowly add the olive oil to the dressing. Add more cranberry juice to thin the dressing to the desired texture. Taste, and adjust seasoning. Drizzle over the composed salad, or put it in a pretty dish and serve on the table with the salad bowl.

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