This time of year my neighbor’s tree is bursting with ripe, sweet, delicious figs so I’m always looking for ways to incorporate them into my meals. Unfortunately neither Eammon nor Maisie care for the figs so “poor little me” is left to eat them all by myself. What’s wonderful about not having to share the figs is that I don’t have to worry about what I combine them with and other people’s likes and dislikes. In our house when comes to using figs it’s all about me and what I enjoy.
One of my favorite ways to enjoy figs is fresh from the tree topped with a bit of chèvre and drizzled with a balsamic syrup so when I saw a recipe for a Fig & Watermelon Salad on Lisa’s Authentic Suburban Gourmet I knew immediately that I would be making, eating and enjoying it…and ASAP. Since I had already used up our first watermelon of the season from our garden making Watermelon Frosty drinks and Watermelon Tomato Gazpacho I patiently (yeah right as I checked the melons twice daily) waited for another melon to ripen. Once it did I picked that 25 pound baby and while it was still warm from the sun, I sliced it open and made this salad. I will say that I enjoyed the salad more when I made it the second day and the melon was chilled but I would eat it with warm melon again, any day, as this salad was off-the-charts wonderful.
I changed the recipe very little from the original, not because I didn’t like anything but because I wanted to use what I had in the house. So for this salad I used Vidalia instead of red onions and chèvre in lieu of Feta but I know that the salad would have been equally as good had I gone the other way. Also just to up the fig factor instead of plain balsamic vinegar in the vinaigrette I used an orange & fig balsamic vinegar that I had picked up a ways back at World Market but had yet to use.
I did question the addition of the mint but as I had it in the garden I went with it and it added great flavor to the salad. With this salad I loved the contrast of the peppery arugula with the creaminess of the chèvre with the added sweetness of the melon & figs, just perfect. The contrast in texture was wonderful too, the crisp watermelon & onion, the soft figs and cheese, well it’s just a wonderful salad all around.
6 cups arugula
12 figs, halved
2 cups one-inch watermelon cubes
1/2 medium Vidalia onion, sliced thin
1/2 cup chèvre, crumbled
6 mint leaves, chiffonade
Add all the dressing ingredients to a small glass jar with lid and shake well until combined.
To assemble the salad, add all of the salad ingredients to a platter and drizzle on the dressing for a beautiful presentation.