This alternative salad recipe is a healthy-ish midday indulgence for any day of the week. We started by pairing the slight bitterness of chicory with the sweet, subtle flavours of fig then added a few more ingredients to create this simple yet elegant salad.
Figs and walnuts are both in season in the autumn months and so this is the perfect time to eat them. To make this extra tasty try to buy freshly shelled walnuts from your delicatessen or speciality food shop. Equally, ensure the figs you buy are plump and ripe. You’ll know your figs are perfectly ripe when you cut into them and the insides are lush and pink. If the inside is turning ever so slightly brown, they’re still edible but will need eating quickly.
This recipe serves 2 people as a main dish. It could equally be used as a starter for a dinner party, serving up to 4. We’ve used bacon lardons in this recipe, but they could easily be replaced for blue cheese (e.g. gorgonzola) if you’d prefer that – or use both if you’re feeling extra indulgent.
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Preparation time: 10 minutes
- 5 ripe figs – quartered
- 2 heads of white chicory
- 2 heads of red chicory
- 1 large handful of walnuts – chopped
- 200g bacon lardons
- Extra virgin olive oil
- White wine vinegar
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp honey
- Tip the bacon lardons into a skillet or frying pan and cook on a high heat with a small drizzle of oil to help get them started before they begin to render their own fat in which to cook. Give the pan a shake every minute or so to make sure the lardons don’t stick and cook until golden and crisp.
- Peel the chicory leaves individually directly onto the plates and divide the fig quarters and walnuts equally between the two plates.
- To make the dressing, we use a 50ml shot glass as our “standard” measure. Mix one shot of extra virgin olive oil with half a shot of white wine vinegar, the Dijon mustard and honey, then mix well.
- When the lardons are cooked, drain the fat and scatter equally over the two plates.
- Drizzle liberally with the dressing and dig in.