Fresh figs star in summer salad

Kate Lawson
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Oh, goody, it’s fig season. Be still my heart. Perhaps more than any other fruit, it’s 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 we’re 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

¼ 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.

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