Fig season has arrived! Celebrate these honey-scented fruits with a hearty salad of arugula, bacon, brioche croutons, pecans, and a creamy miso-mandarin dressing. For a vegetarian version, simply omit the bacon and cook the croutons in an oil of your choice.
Why miso works
Don’t fear the addition of miso in this recipe as you likely can’t discern its flavor on its own. Instead, it adds a subtle sweet-salty quality that plays wonderfully with the mandarin and buttermilk in the dressing. I’ve opted for mellow white miso paste, but if you only have red or yellow paste you can certainly try to substitute, just taste as you go.
How to enjoy fresh figs
Fig season generally lasts from August to October. Mild yet jammy, figs have a myriad of applications, from sweet to savory. You can eat figs raw, grill them up, wrap them in bacon, or cook them down with lemon juice and sugar for a wonderful pancake or crepe topping.
Fig Salad with Creamy Miso-Mandarin DressingCourse: SaladsDifficulty: Easy
Fig season has arrived! Celebrate these honey-scented fruits with a hearty salad of arugula, bacon, brioche croutons, pecans, and a creamy miso-mandarin dressing.
- For the salad
4-5 generous cups of arugula
8 fresh figs
4 slices of thick cut bacon
5 oz brioche bread
¼ cup chopped pecans
A splash of lemon juice
- For the dressing
⅛ cup buttermilk
⅛ cup mayonnaise
1.5 tbsp white miso paste
1.5 tbsp fresh manadrin or orange juice
Orange or mandarin zest
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
Salt to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- While the oven preheats, place the pecans on a sheet pan (if you use a large sheet pan you can reuse the pan for the croutons later). When the oven hits 350, place the pecans in the oven. Bake for about 5 minutes, removing the pan to shake every 2 minutes or so. Watch carefully so that they don’t burn. Remove from the oven and place pecans in a small bowl and set aside.
- Slice the bacon into small strips and add to a cast iron or non stick pan. Turn the heat to medium. The bacon will start to cook slowly. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is fully rendered and crisp, about 4-5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon. Let the bacon fat cool, but do not toss.
- Cut the brioche into ¾ inch cubes. Brioche is quite soft, so be careful as you cut it. Place the cubes in a bowl.
- When the bacon fat is cool to touch, pour about 3-4 tbsp into the brioche bowl and toss gently to combine. Add more fat if needed. Season with salt and pepper. For a vegetarian salad, simply omit the bacon and use an oil of your choice for the croutons.
- Spread the cubes out on the baking sheet, making sure no cubes touch each other. Bake in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, watching carefully at around the 9 minute mark as they can go from light to very dark quite quickly. You are looking for evenly browned croutons. Remove the croutons from the oven and let cool.
- While the croutons bake, whisk together all the ingredients from the dressing. Don’t worry about measuring the mandarin zest. I personally like a lot of zest, but cook to your own palate.
- Slice the figs into quarters and squeeze some lemon juice over them. Place in a large bowl along with the arugula.
- When the croutons are no longer piping hot, add them to the bowl, along with the bacon and pecans.
- Slowly toss the salad while adding the dressing. You may not need all of the dressing.
- Enjoy immediately.
- There should be enough broth for about 3 cod filets, but you can certainly keep the same recipe for just two filets.
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