So there is a meme in an old episode of The Simpsons (“Lisa the Vegetarian”) that states “You don’t make friends with salad!”. The reality is, yes you do. And this fresh, simple, summer salad is a great example of why. There is a lot of fruit in this salad, so those with a fear of nature’s candy should run. Fast. Far. I would tell you to sub something different, but the fruit really makes this dish. And yeah, tomato is a fruit. I know…..who knew?!?! Well I did. But I didn’t know before I found out.. ?? Anyway.
Figs. I love’em. I can never get enough. I had my best figs in a farmers market in Hvar Croatia. Melt in your mouth sweetness not hours off of the tree. I’ll never forget those figs. And though I can’t get those figs here, I can get some pretty good ones. Watch for them over the next month or two as they’ll start rolling in. If you can get yourself a good ripe batch, they’re gold. Given what I just said, you are likely to cringe at the next part. For this salad, I sear them. Yeah, that’s right. I spray them with olive oil, sprinkle on a bit of salt, let them sit for 15 minutes, then throw them on a hot skillet cut side down and sear them to a beautiful brown. Careful as they will burn quickly. Now put away your judgy pants for a few moments and follow me here. The heat breaks down the tissue making them juicy, but the sear, seals that juice in. What happens when you put that in your mouth?! Flavour explosion. Try it, and if you don’t like, share your opinion. I like to hear it.
Boston lettuce. For those of you that know me, I have an opinion about lettuce(iceberg only really as that’s all we had growing up). It’s bland, it’s weird, and it’s a useless veggie in my opinion. Note I said ‘in my opinion’. Yes I understand there is nutritional value in lettuce, but as a kid from the country, it was like eating lima beans. Blech. Still sticks with me, though I have forgiven it enough to eat delicious lettuce leaf tacos. Now boston lettuce or romaine lettuce is another story. I find a lot more flavour in those, hence them making it into my cooks more often (look for my grilled romaine recipes. Bomb!). Now I don’t know that there is enough difference between the red boston and green boston lettuce aside from colour, so we won’t discuss that here. The red Boston lettuce simply provided a more colourful salad in this case, and hey, we eat with our eyes first. Can’t get boston, try romaine! Can’t get romaine but insist on using iceberg lettuce, do it, but don’t tell me about it. Ok, tell me about it. I know my opinion is not everyone’s opinion, so if you like it, I will not judge.
Dressing. Aside from the seared figs, this is the other pillar of this salad. This blackberry vinaigrette takes a little work, but is simply made with 4 ingredients and is downright delicious with the tomatoes, lettuce, and figs. FOUR ingredients, and one of them is salt. How does it get more simple?!? You’ll question that when you try to get the juice from the fresh blackberries but it is worth the effort! I like to pulse the blackberries in a blender to break down the membrane, but not enough to break down the seeds. I honestly don’t want the bitterness of the seeds to impart in the juice, but if you feel you want to save time, have at it. Let me know how it goes. Especially if it works out. I love to save time!
I use fingerling potatoes here because I love fingerling potatoes! Use whatever kind you want. I cut them in half and bake in the oven on a sheet pan to crisp the cut side a little. You can slice a regular potato into thicker chips and achieve the same result.
The protein can be any cut of steak (or otherwise) that you wish. The sweetness of the salad goes really well with the steak though, so keep that under consideration. Also the garlic scape chimichurri rounds out the flavour profile. You don’t need it, but I recommend it. Search my site for it. It’s delicious.Print
Fig and Tomato Salad
This delicious salad is perfect for summer, and so simple that you’ll be eating in minutes. OK, a few minutes.
- 1 head of red boston lettuce
- 6 fresh figs
- 2 fresh ripe tomatoes
- 2/3 cup fresh blackberry juice
- 2 tbsp ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar)
- ¼ cup Olive Oil
- slice figs in half
- spray olive oil (or apply olive oil) on cut half of figs
- sprinkle a bit of salt on each
- let sit for 10 mins while you prepare lettuce
- separate lettuce leaves from stem at base and wash leaves thoroughly
- let drain to dry (or alternatively pat dry with a paper towel)
- arrange in a circle (similar to how it grows) on a plate, platter, or cutting board
- sear figs in a hot skillet until brown and crispy (watch closely as the sugar will burn quickly)
- remove from pan and set aside on plate
- slice tomatoes into 1/8ths (quarter then slice the quarter in half)
- arrange tomatoes and figs alternately on top of the lettuce leaves
- drizzle dressing on top (recipe below)
- add 2 pints of blackberries to a blender
- pulse until blackberries are juiced but not enough to break down seeds
- pour juiced blackberry mix into a strainer over a bowl
- use a spoon to mix about the blackberry juice in the strainer until all of the juice has passed through the strainer into the bowl
- measure the quantity required from the strained juice in the bowl
- add to a new bowl
- add apple cider vinegar and olive oil
- whisk thoroughly
- you can try to blend the blackberry juice completely on high in the blender. I did not as I didn’t want any bitterness of the seeds being transferred into the dressing.