There’s a saying that “what grows together goes together” and if there ever was a dish to reinforce this saying – it’s this salad. The days are still hot here in Greece but with August gone and the days shortening there’s some relief as the evenings become cooler. Cooler temperatures also bring in some fall/autumn vegetables – like salad greens.
Greece has an a wealth of greens in Spring and now the first salad greens begin to appear and last right through the winter. A friend of the family brought us some rocket (arugula) from her garden and upon tasting these greens, peppery and bitter were my immediate thoughts. arugula doesn’t come this peppery back in Canada at the markets so this batch of zesty greens were bold.
Rocket greens leave room for other flavours to be shared. Balsamic vinegar and honey are emulsified with mustard and olive oil, some salt and pepper to flavour the dressing and the star of the salad has to be the fresh figs that I am still enjoying this summer. The figs offset the bold spicy flavour of this garden-grown rocket and I’m a big fan of contrasts of flavours in a dish.
Figs, rocket greens, walnuts are all in season and here at our home in Halkidiki, they are all local! Remember “what grows together goes toether”? The final touch to this salad (my fave for this year) has to grated cheese: it could be a sharp sheep’s milk cheese like Kefalotyri or a roqueforte or in this instance, a slightly tangy yet briny Graviera cheese I picked up from a Cretan who traveled all the way up to the Agio Mama Panagyri (festival) to sell his cheeses.
Rocket Salad With Figs and Graviera (Σαλάτα Ρόκα με Σύκα και Γραβιερα)
approx. 5 handfuls of rocket (arugula)
1 small clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp. of Dijon style mustard
1 Tbsp. of honey
3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
9-10 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
fine sea salt and fresh ground pepper
12 fresh (ripe) figs, quartered
1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
grated Graviera cheese
- Pick and tear-off any brown or wilted parts of the salad and wash in cold water. Dry your greens in a towel or use a salad spinner then reserve.
- In a large bowl, add your honey, mustard, balsamic, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper and whisk into a paste. Continue whisking while pouring a slow stream of olive oil until your desired consistency is achieved and the dressing has emulsified. Taste dressing and adjust seasoning.
- Add your salad greens and figs and gently toss until well coated. Top with chopped walnuts and grated Graviera cheese and serve.
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