Found fresh organic figs! Actually gasped when first setting eyes upon them – yes, love at first sight. A rare sight, at that. Arugula is an assertive, classic partner with figs. How about some pecan and breadcrumb-encrusted warm goat cheese with a dried date and aged balsamic vinegar chutney? I have some 25 year old balsamic vinegar from a friend that used to own a castle in Tuscany (I swear). This deep, thick liquid I use very sparingly. At $50 a bottle, each drop is accountable. By adding it to a thick paste made from dates I think will put it over the top. Mustard micro-greens add some more punch and there are still pears from my tree in the front yard. Gorgonzola, blue, feta, or mascarpone can substitute for the goat cheese.
- 2 dried Medjool dates, pitted
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- Pinch salt
- ¼ cup ground pecans
- ¼ cup fine breadcrumbs
- 4 ounces goat cheese, sliced into ½-inch thick disks
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Large handful of arugula
- Large handful of microgreens
- 12 figs, cut in half lengthwise
- 2 ripe pears, cored and thinly sliced
- Mash the dates in a mortar in pestle to a paste.
- Add the vinegar, oil, and salt. Stir until well combined.
- Combine the pecans and breadcrumbs in a shallow dish.
- Dredge the goat cheese in the nut/breadcrumb mixture, patting firmly.
- Heat the butter in a skillet and place the goat cheese gently in the pan, and cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, until golden brown. Turn each disk and cook an additional 5 minutes.
- While the cheese is cooking, assemble the arugula, micro-greens, figs, and pears on a serving platter.
- Place the cheese on top of the salad. Drizzle with date balsamic vinaigrette. Serve cold.
Did I mention I hate goat cheese. You can have mine.