Figs have a great richness and earthy sweetness that I think pairs great with wine and cheese, so I am always excited when fig season comes around. Unlike many fruits these days, figs are still pretty seasonal. They do not last long in storage and while the trees themselves bear fruit twice a year, usually it is only the second flush of fruit that is suitable for eating.
Figs pair great with tangy, aged cheeses and especially with blue cheese. They also go great with aged, salty meats like prosciutto, with nuts, and with citrus. These are also some of my favorite pairings for Sauvignon Blanc as well, and those ingredients go so well together as a salad, this recipe is one of my fig season favorites.
If you are joining us this week for our Wine with Dinner virtual tasting, this would be a great starter that will pair well with the Chateau Carbonnieux Blanc as well as using the Valdeon blue cheese from the Cheese tasting kit.
Fig and Arugula Salad with Valdeon Blue
- bag of washed, young arugula, watercress, or other tangy greens
- fresh Black Mission or Brown Turkey figs, sliced to quarters or eighths
- Valdeon blue cheese, crumbled
- Optional augments like:
- sliced nectarines, preferably grilled
- small radicchio, pull apart small leaves or tear to manageable size
- dried ham like bresaola or prosciutto cut to strips
- hearts of palm, cut to discs
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon dried Herbs de Provence or oregano
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Whisk red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, oregano, garlic, salt, and black pepper together in a small bowl. Slowly stream olive oil into the vinegar mixture while whisking briskly. Beat lemon juice into the mixture.
Assemble the salad by first pouring a small amount of the dressing down the sides of a large bowl, then adding the arugula and about half of the blue cheese. Toss the arugula and cheese against the sides of the bowl to coat it evenly and lightly (you don't want it soggy). Plate the arugula then top with the remaining bleu cheese crumbled and fig pieces. Valdeon is can be soft, so chill it well before crumbling, then rake the tines of a fork over the salad.
While the arugula, figs, and blue make a perfect salad alone, depending on my audience and desires I will augment with grilled nectarines, radicchio, bresaola, or hearts of palm. The trick is to think of what you want to bring out in your wine and meal.