Why don’t you eat more salad?
No no. Don’t go! I’m not here to lecture you. But I have a feeling your answer is the same as mine was when I asked this question to myself some time ago. “There’s just nothing really special about a salad”.
Yet, when I order salads at a restaurant, they are usually pretty visually stunning. And I’m always amazed at the unique ingredients and dressings. And that’s when I decided that I wasn’t going to make boring salads anymore! Here’s what it takes . . . . .
- Choose one special seasonal ingredient that you don’t ordinarily have. Here, I chose figs. I love them. But for some reason I never buy them for myself.
- Add some level of “comfort foodness” to your salad. Instead of a bunch of cold veggies, I decided to add some bacon. Aside from macaroni & cheese and mashed potatoes, there’s not many things more comforting than bacon!
- Add a few contrasting textures. No one wants to eat a bowl of slimy lettuce. Here I jazzed up my greens with some creamy blue cheese and some crunchy, buttery pine nuts.
- Take the same care in composing your salad as you would when preparing a meal. Honestly, this salad came together in 15 minutes. But I took the time to toast the pine nuts. And I made the effort to wrap the figs with bacon and then saute them till the bacon was crisp & chewy and the figs were slightly caramelized.
Making a special dressing lifts a salad’s spirits, too. But those sweet, sticky, salty, chewy bacon wrapped figs were soooooo good, all I needed was a little olive oil, sherry vinegar and salt & pepper.
So today, it’s all about the figs. I found some Brown Turkey Figs at the market and decided to take a chance on them. They were looking a bit fatigued, maybe it’s all the excitement of the holidays. But it doesn’t matter for this salad. They are going to be blanketed with the bacon and will soften and caramelize in the pan anyway.
As I cut the figs in half for this recipe, I save about 1/3 of the really pretty ones aside. I like the little pop of color of the fresh figs in this salad.
This fresh fig salad comes together quickly. Gather up your ingredients. Use a mix of your favorite greens. Toast up some pine nuts. Grab some blue cheese. And wrap some bacon around your figs. Use some toothpicks to secure them. And saute them for 5-10 minutes. That’s it!
Dress your greens with a drizzle of olive oil, a splash of sherry vinegar, salt and pepper. Toss with the blue cheese and pine nuts and nestle in those scrumptious bacon wrapped figs.
The bacon wrapped figs and blue cheese made this salad feel like a meal for me. Special enough for the holidays and perfect for a brunch!
So tell me again, why don’t you eat more salad?
Don’t put in 1/2 of the effort unless you’re okay with 1/2 of the result.
- 12 Brown Turkey Figs
- 12 slices of bacon, cut in half
- 16 ounces of mixed greens
- 4 ounces of blue cheese
- 2 Tablespoons of toasted pine nuts
- ¼ cup of olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons of sherry vinegar
- salt & pepper
- Cut the figs in half.
- Reserve 8 fig halves to garnish the salad.
- Wrap ½ a bacon strip around each of the other fig halves and secure with a toothpick.
- Saute the bacon wrapped figs in a medium saute pan over medium high heat, turning until the bacon is cooked on all sides.
- Let the figs cool on a plate before removing the toothpicks.
- Place the greens in a large bowl.
- Add a pinch of salt and a couple of grinds of fresh cracked pepper and toss.
- Add the olive oil and toss.
- Add the blue cheese, pine nuts and vinegar and toss to coat.
- Nestle the bacon wrapped figs and the fresh figs into the greens and serve.