a home cook with notions & an appetite
I thought my procrastination on the last of garden posts might be good for wintery nostalgic posts where I could talk about days of ice, snow and sub-zero temperatures and how this post were not late, but were reminders of days past and hopeful glimpses of would come in a few short months. Stupid jet stream and 50-degree temperatures and a a semi-green lawn in February just make me look like the procrastinator that I am. Dangit. Well, here’s to honesty!
Two years ago, husband ordered three fig trees. I know, we’re zone five and I just got done talking about snow, ice and sub-zero temperatures that come with a normal winter in Ohio. This means we’re not built for year-round fig trees. This is why our fig trees are in large containers that currently live in our back room (back windows open for sun) until it gets warm enough for another late spring/summer/early fall out on our back porch. This second summer, we actually started seeing a real harvest on our figs. Sure, we usually ate them raw or with goat cheese and some honey, but there was actually once enough for us to stare at the bounty and go, “we should try something different with these.” This salad was that thing we were able to do on short notice.
If I recall, we were grilling steaks and looking for a nice hearty side. Cooking Light’s Grilled Fig and Arugula Salad with Gorgonzola Toasts was going to take advantage of an already lit grill and we were able to use up baguette we usually had on-hand. Here were the ingredients we used (we halved-ish the recipe):
I don’t have it pictured because everything came together pretty fast on this, but the Gorgonzola and butter were creamed together. We have an Amish-brand of Gorgonzola crumbles that the mega-mart sells that makes this process even easier (plus, you have leftover Gorgonzola crumbles for pasta and other salads!).
Cooking light used larger pieces of bread for their salad and grilled it. Since I was in the kitchen and using baguette, I preheated the broiler while concentrating on the figs for husband to take over to the grill. How easy was prep on the figs? Look for yourself:
The figs were halved and threaded onto two flat skewers. These were then sprayed with Pam and taken to the grill where they were grilled over indirect heat on both sides for about 4 minutes on each side.
While these were grilling, I finished up the rest of the ingredients. This meant quickly toasting the baguette slices under the broiler and making the vinaigrette by whisking the vinegar, oil and salt and pepper together. Once the vinaigrette came together, I tossed this with the arugula and spinach and then split the greens over two butter lettuce leaves for presentation. Speaking of presentation, I also spread the Gorgonzola butter over the baguette pieces. Have I mentioned how awesome Gorgonzola butter is? Because it is.
A salad of grilled figs from your own fig trees is pretty awesome, even if they’re end-of-season figs. If this salad were just the grilled figs making a natural sweet caramel playing well with balsamic vinaigrette and the natural peppery bite of arugula and the coolness of baby spinach, that would be pretty nice. But you should know that the Gorgonzola buttered toast brings a whole fun to the mix in the form of crunch and pungent creaminess that makes this salad really sing. If you don’t have your own fig tree, but find fresh figs in season, this is worth making.