August 15, 2014 at 1:00 am

Simply the Best

Fresh figs star in summer salad

Fresh figs with mozarella, prosciutto and arugula make a refreshing salad. (Kate Lawson / The Detroit News)

Oh, goody, its fig season. Be still my heart. Perhaps more than any other fruit, its the fig that gets my full attention once it starts appearing in the markets. I love them so much I even purchased a small fig tree last year; at present, the fruit is the size of a large marble. I fear it will be awhile before I see any reward. So, I go off in search of figs, and right now they are easy to find.

But before I begin to incorporate fresh figs into a dish, say maybe a salad or dessert, I gently rinse a few, shake them dry, then bite into them with glee. The crunchy sweetness never disappoints, and after a few indulgences, I come to my senses and put them aside for later.

Originally I had planned to make a fig tart, but because were on a bit of a health kick (ha) around here, I decided on a salad using fresh mozzarella, prosciutto and arugula to showcase this fantastic fruit.

Good decision on my part; the salty prosciutto with the sweet figs and creamy cheese was better than dessert.

I do hope that figs stick around for awhile longer, I still plan to make that fig tart.

Marinated Fig Salad

cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon coarse-grained Dijon mustard
16 fresh figs, halved
1 (8-ounce) package fresh mozzarella cheese slices
4 ounces thinly sliced Serrano ham or prosciutto, torn into strips
2 cups loosely packed arugula

Whisk together first 4 ingredients and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl. Stir in figs; let stand 30 minutes.

Arrange mozzarella and ham on 4 salad plates or a large platter. Spoon fig mixture over cheese and ham. Sprinkle with arugula, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4.

Per serving: 505 calories; 29 g fat (11 g saturated fat; 52 percent calories from fat); 45 g carbohydrates; 20 g sugar; 57 mg cholesterol; 587 mg sodium; 18 g protein; 7 g fiber.

KLawson@detroitnews.com