Green Salad with Honey-Roast Figs and Kabanos

In addition to studying for my law degree, I tend to take entirely too many projects on.  Mind you, I am not some sort of workaholic with insane work-ethical worldview that makes me run around doing stuff like crazy – far from it.  I am lazy at heart.  But, there are just so many interesting things to visit, see, read, do, make, write, cook, grow and eat out there!  And as a result, I run around trying to juggle the schoolwork and hobbies like a madwoman.

Like this morning – I just got done watering all the orchids and picking up around the kitchen, and it was already lunchtime!  Where did the bloody time go, tell me?!

Guess where I take the shortcut?  Lunchtime.  More often than not, I end up opening the fridge and staring into it in fascination trying to figure out what I can take out and prepare in 20 minutes or less.  No, ramen noodles aren’t on the menu – ‘something to eat’ in our household which consists of myself and a spoiled other half needs to be healthy, delicious and fresh.

Unless I realize (in horror) that we’d run out of our resident packet of greens, what we end up eating on a daily basis, is some permutation of a green salad.  Frankly, I don’t have a single set ‘recipe’ for a green salad – I just grab all that looks promising out of the fridge: greens, vegetables, cheese of some sort, and cured or cooked meat of some description, and then figure out what sorts of seasoning and dressing it would go well with.

This salad, however, was memorable enough in its semi-accidental nature, that I think it ought to be written down and shared, for it turned out lovely and fresh and full of rounded flavor without any component overpowering the whole.  The delicate sweetness of roast figs goes oh-so-wonderfully with the smoky meat, and the freshness of the mint and basil set it all off to perfection.  I could wax poetic about how great it is to have fresh potted herbs on my windowsill, but I’ll leave that for another time.

Anyway, the salad!  The quantities given were enough for a large lunch salad for two people.  If you want to feed four, feel free to double the recipe as main dish for lunch or light supper, or use below quantities and have smaller portions as starters.

What you need:

  • Two large handfuls of baby salad greens
  • 1 red sweet paprika – I used the long sweet variety that are thinner-fleshed and a little less watery than typical bell peppers, but using a bell pepper here would harm the salad not at all
  • 1 good-sized tomato
  • A chunk of cucumber 10-15cm long
  • 8 very fresh mint leaves, rolled and chiffonaded
  • 4 sprigs of Greek basil, snipped – a large sprig of regular basil, chiffonaded, will also work.
  • 150g white brined curd cheese (I use a German white cheese which is a bit less salty than feta, but feta or anything like it will work too – you might need to reduce the amount of salt)
  • 1-2 figs
  • 1-2 teaspoons of honey
  • Kabanos sausage, or other smoky-flavored dry-cured or smoked sausage, sliced into easily edible bits.
  • A large (or small) pinch of sea salt flakes and a good grinding of black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons of white wine vinegar
  • 2-4 tablespoons of good extra-virgin olive oil

What to do:

  • Slice the figs into quarters nearly all the way through, so that the four quarters remain attached at the bottom.  Drip a teaspoon of honey into each fig, place in a baking dish and bake at 225C for approximately 10 minutes or until the figs are open and bright-pink inside and ooze a little bit of pink syrup when prodded.
  • Remove from oven.
  • While the figs roast, toss the greens, chopped peppers, cucumber and tomato, finely snipped/chiffonaded fresh herbs and cubed brined curd cheese to the bowl.
  • Sprinkle with vinegar, season with salt and pepper, and toss thoroughly.
  • Add olive oil and toss again.
  • Plate the salad out, and garnish with roast fig or figs on top, and smoky sausages on the side (or wherever the heck you want them!).

Enjoy.  The entire ‘cooking’ process for this takes approximately 15 minutes.  In fact, there’s even time to make a couple of cups of honeyed mint tea to go with it.

You don’t know how to make mint tea?  Nothing easier!  It is one of my favorite non-caffeinated hot drinks out there, and probably the easiest to make – and it is lovely, lovely, lovely for your throat if you are down with a cold!

Take a large (500ml or so) coffee or soup mug.  Place inside it a sprig of fresh mint, and a teaspoon of honey.  Pour over boiling water and let steep about 10 minutes.  Stir honey in and remove the sprig.  And it’s good with nearly any Middle-Eastern or Mediterranean-style dish you I can think of.  Try it, you definitely won’t regret it!  (Unless you hate mojitos or something.)

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6 thoughts on “Green Salad with Honey-Roast Figs and Kabanos

  1. Ooooh…I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with all the figs about to ripen on my landlord’s trees, and this looks like a fabulous option! I’ll be sharing this, for sure.

    1. You have landlord with fig trees? I would be near-prostrate with envy if I weren’t aware of having a forest with bilberries (wild blueberries) and porcini 15min walk away from where I live. Still, the envy!!! *drools*

      Salad is all well and I’d eat figs every day if I could, but since you have a huge supply of them, you need to make fig jam. I was just thinking that I should buy half a kilo of these while they are cheap and make it, but you… you have them for free! And fig jam is a total ambrosia! (And anyone you give a jar for the holidays will thank you forever. I am serious. Have you seen the prices for good fig jam in specialty shops?)

      Ok, don’t know about you, but I think I have managed to talk myself into going back to the shop, buying figs aplenty and making fig jam, too.

      1. Oh yes, fig jam is definitely on my list! I’m also thinking of candying figs the way a previous tenant did. So delicious and unhealthy…

        The crazy thing is, my landlord doesn’t even like figs. So if I don’t pick them, they’ll go uneaten, and then they’ll fall on the ground and get sticky and slippery, and then I’ll spend the next few months tripping and falling on my face. Obviously, the only way to avoid this is making jam. :)

  2. That’s one pretty salad right there. You can never eat too many figs I think! I also really dig the additional tea recipe – sounds right up my street. I’m also envious that your other half will consider salad a meal. My other half considers it an offensive gesture.

    1. Thank you, and I 100% agree on figs! Like I said above to Zoe, I need to make fig jam. I have gotten my paws on Cathedral City Cheddar here… now I know it’s not that special in the UK; but I got it HERE, and I think that, with fig jam, would make the best canapes ever. Period.

      And since you (quite apparently from your blog) have access to good mint, do make the tea. It doesn’t work nearly as well with dried stuff, but try it with fresh and it’s ambrosia.

      As to other half and salad… have you considered topping a salad with a generous slicing of cold beef or a marinated-and-grilled chicken breast, or just a large handful of bacon? Or is it the greenery he objects to? I think mine would find it slim pickings (he’s a skinny git) if I weren’t making sure there’s enough food in the salad alongside the greens to make him last till dinner.

      1. It’s the greenery he objects to. I have managed to get him to eat other vegetables through disguising techniques picked up from sites that give information on how to feed picky children. He’s also a skinny git, one of those skinny gits that can eat whatever he wants, however many cakes and pies and bread he wants and just remain a skinny git. I can always send you decent cheddar! I just sent cheddar to Lithuania and it got through customs so, I’m assuming, it would be fine going into Sweden if I were discrete about it!

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