I absolutely love figs. I love them so much that I planted a fig tree in our backyard a few years ago. It's still small, and only produces a few figs a year at this point, but I dream of the day when it produces more than I could ever eat. Until then, I have access to some amazing organic dried figs and spreads from Valley Fig Growers in California. They sent me a lovely package a couple weeks ago, and I whipped up the most amazingly delicious salad ever with what I found inside. I mean it. SUPER delicious salad. And healthy, too! This wasn't one of those yummy salads that's only delicious because it has more calories than a massive cheeseburger.
It's hard to go wrong when you're working with fresh, delicious ingredients, but even so, this salad was one to remember. Fresh greens from our garden, thinly sliced dried figlets, tangy goat cheese crumbles, strips of crispy prosciutto, and to top it off, an amazing Fig and Orange vinaigrette (homemade, of course--it tastes SO much better than store bought!).
I tried all of the fig spread flavors, and they were all seriously delicious, but I was inspired by the fig and orange spread in particular. We have a beautiful orange tree, heavy with fruit, and I immediately thought of whipping up an incredibly easy, flavorful salad dressing.
Fig and Orange Vinaigrette Salad Dressing Recipe:
- juice of one orange (4 ounces)
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 T California Fig and Orange spread
- 1 T balsamic vinegar
Combine the orange juice, fig spread, and balsamic vinegar together in a blender. Give it a good whirl to mix the first three ingredients.
While the mixer is still running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. And I mean SLOWLY. If you go too quickly, the oil and the rest of the ingredients will separate quickly. And while it will still be just fine to eat, and tasty, it won't be as magically delicious.
Once you have your salad dressing made, it's time for toppings for those greens. I love a bit of crunch and salt, so I decided to make some crispy prosciutto strips. It only takes about 45 seconds in the microwave per strip of prosciutto to crisp it up nicely. I cut it into strips using a pair of kitchen scissors.
Salty prosciutto, sweet dried figs, and tangy goat cheese crumbles--pretty much the best Mediterranean salad toppings I can imagine.
The Fig and Orange salad dressing complimented all the flavors absolutely perfectly. Amazingly, even. I don't often swoon over salad (I mean, I eat plenty of greens, but because I'm supposed to, but I'd probably rather have some nice cheese) but this salad was definitely worth pulling out the fainting couch over.
My husband had his salad for lunch with a grilled cheese sandwich, but me?
I just wanted a great big bowl of this. And let me tell you, my husband makes really good grilled cheese. It's pretty much the only thing he makes, but he does it really well. ;-) But even his legendary grilled cheese sandwich couldn't compete with this salad.
What's your favorite salad? What makes vegetables a joy for you? I'm always looking for more fabulous ideas and recipes!