Rocket Salad With Figs and Graviera

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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)

(serves 4-6)

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Add your salad greens and figs and gently toss until well coated. Top with chopped walnuts and grated Graviera cheese and serve.


© 2011,
Peter Minakis

. All rights reserved.

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10 Comments for “Rocket Salad With Figs and Graviera”


That salad must taste wonderful! What gorgeous flavors. I am a big fan of arugula. I wish I could taste Graviera cheese.




I could eat this entire salad, no question! What with fresh rocket, fresh figs and walnuts and this luscious cheese, I can’t think of anything better on earth.


I just found your blog yesterday and love it. I cooked the greek beans last night for dinner and sweetie said they were as good as his mother made. Even better, your a T-dot blog…ciao


Peter, my wife and I just had a divine dining experience tonight!

This salad was simply extraordinary! Pretty sweet but truly amazing! It must be the most delicious salad I have ever had in my entire life!!

Since we did not have all the exact ingredients, we made the following substitutions:

• mixed greens instead of arugula (this may have significantly changed the balance of the original, towards much sweeter – but fantastic nonetheless)
• Parmigiano-Reggiano instead of Greek Graviera
• Balsamico di Modena Mini Italia silver (aged 15 years) … just 1 tablespoon instead of 3 (I would put it even less next time)
• wild Madagascar Voatsiperifery pepper (extraordinary!)
• pink Diamond salt of Kashmir, Pakistan (Himalayan mountains)
• wonderful and pure honey and extra virgin olive oil from my father’s village in Samos, Greece

I even high recommended it to a chef friend of mine. I bet it will be a guaranteed success if incorporated into one of his menus.

I owe you a big thank you for this recipe, it has forever changed my gustatory cells! :-)

Sent from George’s Mac 



Thank you for this! I had made this salad with what I had on hand ~ fig balsamic vinegar & blue cheese, no nuts. Everything else was the same. Off the hook delicious!