I used to go to Montjuic, a big public park here in Barcelona to climb the fig trees and pick up figs from one of my favorite spots in the city. The fig trees are next to a castle, buganvilia growing up the stone walls, which you reach after having made it to the top of the hill. At the side of a little sand trail from which you overview the port and the sea, three large fig trees with green and black figs grow. It’s best to go early in the morning, maybe even watch the sun slowly crawling up from the sea, bathing everything in an orange light that for a moment makes you feel like being part of a fairy-tale. It’s the way to have it all to you, still safe from the ever-increasing masses of tourists that make their way up in buses later in the day. But since I’m not living close to Montjuic anymore, I always have the very best intentions for fig-picking until I suddenly realize that I failed again – fig season is already over. I found some nice fig trees cycling, but without anything but the mouth to put them into, that was only an instant fig supply.
Maybe because of the atypical amount of raining, most of the figs I bought this year weren’t as good as they usually are. I think the figs I used for this recipe might have been the only ones that met my expectations in flavor as well as color. I’ve been making this goat cheese & fig salad several time during the last years, always to the delight of whoever was around to share it with. It’s simple, but the combination of the fresh cheese, the sweet fig, crunchy nut and the nutty arugula, all drizzled with honey-balsamic dressing is more than convincing.
Notes: A nice winter option for this salad is to slice an apple from top to bottom into round slices and top them with a slice of the larger goat cheese roll.
- 4 hands full of arugula (or 2 hands arugula and 2 hands other greens, like baby spinach, beet greens, oak leaf lettuce…)
- 100g/3.5oz goat cheese in a small roll
- 3 figs
- 1/4 cup pecans or walnuts
For the dressing:
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (I recommend buying organic, most non-organic balsamic vinegars contain caramel coloring which is carcinogenic)
- 1 tablespoon raw honey
- Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF. Slice the goat cheese and the figs. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and put the goat cheese slices on it. Top with fig and pecan or walnut halves. Sprinkle some sea salt and freshly ground black pepper over it, as well as a few drops of honey. Bake until the cheese starts to melt and gets crispy and browned.
Stir all the ingredients for the dressing together. Put the arugula (and other greens of you use) in a salad bowl and top with the baked goat cheese and fig slices. Drizzle with the dressing.