Monday, July 18, 2011

A Fig, Pear and Goat Cheese Salad

This one is ideal for mid-summer and throughout the fall. Since I live in the PNW, it is sort of always late fall, weather-wise, so my apologies if I am jumping the gun making this in July. Deal with it, I swear it is delicious and good to make starting when you can find figs in the store....which is now as currently there are green (Kadota) figs out in the markets, and the best Black Mission figs (which I used in this recipe) are starting to pop up too.

You want to use mixed Spring greens, and whether you acquire them from a bag, a container or tear up three different heads of greens to get there is your prerogative. Arrange it on a plate after rinsing and then turn your attention to the vinaigrette - did I mention I also made that from scratch?

Anyway, to make this dressing properly you need to remember to 'taste' as you mix, ok? For starters mix 1/3 cup dry white wine, 2 tsps of dijon mustard, 1/3 cup olive oil, 1 minced clove of garlic or a spoonful from your easy jar in the fridge, and then 1/3 cup vinegar. Now to be fair, I used pear-infused balsamic vinegar. As you are not all as crazy as me, let's go ahead and use regular balsamic and get all of our pear flavor from the actual pear (how boring!). Now the reason I say to taste is that I never measure when making vinaigrette even though I make them frequently. So if you taste it and it seems oily, you want to add more dijon and/or more vinegar. If it is too tart, try a pinch of sugar/splenda to cut the acidity in the vinegar. I'd refrain from adding much more oil, so try to adjust the other ingredients first.

Now you want to slice up your Anjou pear and then heat a small skillet to medium heat. Once the pan is hot, pour just a little of the pear-infused balsamic in (again, regular balsamic will suffice if your pantry is not as ridiculous as mine) and then cook the pear slices for a few minutes, turning them at least once. You want them to absorb the vinegar, get warm and a little soft - but you don't want mushy pear!

Now slice your figs in half and then you can arrange them any which way you choose on the plate - I choose to outline the circumference of the salad with them. Crumble the goat cheese across the salad and then lay the sauteed pear slices atop that with their juices from the pan. Lastly, drizzle the entire plate with the vinaigrette and serve.

- Melissa


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