Salad With Figs, Feta & Radish Greens

Just more than a year ago I discovered that I in fact liked radishes. That’s right,. for most of my 43 years of existence I didn’t like radishes and that’s why I think it’s important for people to always revisit foods they think they don’t like. I was at a New Year’s Eve party last year, found myself staring at the veggie platter and popping the usual raw veggies into my mouth. The radish entered my mouth, I liked it and had it not been for my open-mindedness, I would not be presenting this gorgeous salad for you.

We’re not using radishes themselves here but the greens. Here in the markets, bunches of radishes also come attached to the greens on top. These greens are perfectly edible and all they need is a through rinse and to be patted-dry (like any other salad greens). If you don’t have access to radish greens, you can always substitute arugala. What we’re going for here is the bitter component of your salad greens. Rounding out the mix are a mixture of white Romaine hearts and the green, flavourful ends of Romaine lettuce. Shame on you if you’d think I would use iceberg lettuce! The sweet end of the salad spectrum is red radicchio. If you can’t find it, a think shredded red cabbage will also work.

Rounding out the salad mix is fennel and the fronds that come with it. The fennel bulb has a mild licorice flavour and it has the crunch of celery. Fennel reminds me of some of the flavours I enjoyed when I visited the island of Crete this past summer, the origins of two ingredients I’m using  in the salad today.

The first ingredient is a Mousto-Balsamic vinegar. This product will life your salads to new heights with it’s perfect combination of tangy balsamic vinegar and the grape must (juice) and hints of mint. The Mousto-Balsamic is not cheap but it’s also not out of reach of most budgets…a splurge you deserve.

The second ingredient is Greek extra-virgin olive oil, again from my friends at Nisos Importing. This Cretan olive oil is a single estate product from the Tsiriotakis’ family plot of olive trees near Chania.  No pesticides, hand-picked and pressed on the same day. 

The garnishes for this elegant salad are chopped walnuts and dried figs. There are no fresh figs in Canada, fig season in the Mediterranean is long-gone and it’s perfectly fine to be enjoying dried fruits at this time of year. Have you ever tried dried figs and walnuts together? Pop a dried fig and some shelled walnuts in your mouth….isn’t the flavour combo amazing? My family loves this combo and we offer it to guests during the upcoming Christmas holidays. This fig-walnut combo also plays well here in this salad.

Rounding out the garnishes is Feta cheese. This blog you are reading primarily features Greek food and therefore I’m going to use Greek Feta cheese. Not Bulgarian, not French and nothing that contains cow’s milk. If you’re in the US and Canada, there are Greek delis and markets across the country that sell Greek Feta cheese. Attention Costco shoppers…Dodoni Feta can be found there. Taste Feta the way it should taste!

The briny and tart Greek Feta, a hint of orange zest, a splash of Ouzo in the dressing to complement the sliced fennel, a spoon of Dijon mustard and some sea salt and fresh ground pepper to complete your dressing. I loved this salad and frankly I think I’ll make it again tonight!

Salad With Figs, Feta & Radish Greens

(serves 4-6)

1 cup of radish greens (or any other peppery salad greens)

1 cup Romaine lettuce greens

1 cup endive or Romaine hearts, sliced

1 cup of Radicchio, sliced

1/2 cup of sliced Fennel bulb

1/2 cup diced dry  igs

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

150 Gr. Feta cheese. cubed

2 Tbsp. chopped fennel fronds

Dressing

1 shallot (1/4 cup ) finely diced (or red onion)

4 Tbsp. Cretan Balsamic Vinegar

1/2 tsp. orange zest

splash of Ouzo

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

good pinch of coarse sea salt

1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper

Approx. 1/2 cup Cretan olive oil

squeeze of lemon juice

  1. In a large bowl, add your diced shallots, orange zest, Ouzo and balsamic vinegar and stir. Allow the shallots to steep in t he vinegar for at about 15 minutes. In the meantime, wash, rinse and pat-dry your salad greens and set aside. You may also use this time to gather your remaning ingredients and prepare your garnishes (walnuts, diced figs and cubed Feta).
  2. Now add the Dijon mustard into the bowl and whisk to blend in. Add coarse sea salt and fresh ground pepper and continue to whisk while adding a slow and steady stream of olive oil until you’ve achieved a creamy and emulsified dressing. Adjust seasoning.
  3. Add your salad mixture to the dressing along with a squeeze of lemon juice and chopped fennel fronds. Toss the salad until well-coated and divide and serve. Top with chopped walnuts, diced dry figs and cubed Feta cheese.

 

© 2010 – 2017,
Peter Minakis

. All rights reserved.

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25 Comments for “Salad With Figs, Feta & Radish Greens”

says:

I rediscovered radishes last year too in a potato salad and it took me 50 years to add them back in as a food group:D Love the combiantion fo sweet and salty here in your salad.

says:

Λαχταριστή σαλάτα! Στα ντρέσιγκ μπορείς βάζω τελευταία πετιμέζι και κανονικό βαλσάμικο με συμβουλή αξιόλογου σεφ και είναι υπέροχο!

says:

Now that I’m back in Mexico I’ve been doing just that, revisiting foods I thought I didn’t like and I’ve been surprised with the results! I love the look of this salad. Feta and figs are always a great combination.

says:

I am loving this salad, Peter. Such great combinations and I’m really curious about investing in some mousto balsamic… maybe a birthday gift to myself?

says:

I just love everything about this salad (and anything with feta is worth eating no matter what!) I love the French radishes – the long, thin delicate ones which are not bitter like the ones we know in the US – but I’ve never eaten radish greens although I always knew people did eat them. What I love about this is the blend of salty and sweet and tart and that’s always fabulous!

joanna

says:

I love the French radishes too! Is there anyone in the US who produces a similar radish? The US ones I’ve had are too “hot” and bitter, but the French ones I love to eat by the handful.

says:

I’m a big fan of radish greens, though I’ve been using them for pesto. Will definitely be inspired to use them for a salad next time. Bet that briny feta would do wonders against the flavor of the greens.

And kudos to you for giving the lowly radish another try! Love it.

says:

This is an incredible salad. I always loved radishes, even made radishes sandwiches when I was young. I’ll have to look for that Mousto Balsamic, never heard of it before.

says:

I think this salade is that a of “grand Chef” and I would pay mucho dolares for it. I need to learn to make a balsamic vinegar like this one. Is it possible do you think? I have access to Lebanese grapes :)

says:

I think most of the foods I did not like growing up (fish, kale, brussels sprouts) I have come to like if not love over the years. It’s funny how taste can change or maybe it is the way something is prepared. In any case your salad looks absolutely lovely!

says:

I just recently acquired a taste for radish too…the crunch, the peppery flavor and, of course, the color really add to a salad. In my market they are sold attached to the greens but I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them so don’t tell anyone, but I’ve just been chopping them off and tossing them out. Yes, I knew that was sinful and I thought about cooking them but hadn’t to-date. I will definitely try them in a salad and I’m also going to try to cooking them.

says:

Absolutely stunning salad and reading the recipe and studying the picture has had me imagining the bright flavours of the herbs couple with the salty feta and bitter greens.
YUM!!!
Valerie

says:

Thanks for the reminder to make use of radish greens. Most of the time, I overlook them until they’re limp and lifeless in the veg drawer. Your salad looks full of balanced flavor, and the mousto balsamic sounds delicious!

says:

Love figs, Peter, so this looks great to me. The dressing sounds delicious and I love the addition of fennel – I only realized within the past few years that I actually really like fennel. I’ve been missing out.

says:

I have never thought of putting figs in salad, but I love figs, radish, and fennel, so in my book this is a winning combination! I just came across your blog today and love what I see. Beautiful photos and wonderful sounding recipes. I’m looking forward to following your posts!