I recently checked out Upstairs on the Square with these lovely ladies and enjoyed a grilled halumi and fig salad nestled in a cornmeal crepe. I loved this combination of flavors and when I scored some fresh figs the other day at Costco, I immediately put them to use in this plate of greens.
My salad was a mix of arugula, sweet honey roasted figs, and salty pecorino romano cheese with a light balsamic vinaigrette. To add some crunch, I made a batch of cornbread croutons with pecorino romano mixed in the batter. Only half the batch made it in the salad (oops..), but I think any more would have been overkill anyway. I can’t remember where I first saw cornbread croutons, but it’s such a great idea and now I want to experiment with other quick bread croutons – maybe pumpkin now that there’s a chill in the air!
Roasted Fig Arugula Salad with Cornbread Croutons
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
2 pounds figs, stemmed and cut in half lengthwise
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
10 ounces baby arugula
1/3 cup balsamic vinaigrette
4 ounces shaved pecorino romano cheese
To make the cornbread croutons, heat oven to 350˚F. Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together butter, eggs, and buttermilk in a large bowl. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until most of the lumps are dissolved and then stir in cheese. Pour the batter into a greased 8×8-inch square pan. Bake at 350˚F for 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely, about an hour, and cut into crouton-sized cubes. Heat oven to 400˚F and place cubes on a large cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 400˚F, then flip over the cubes and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool completely, about 20 minutes.
To make the roasted figs, heat oven to 400˚F. Place figs on a large cookie sheet cut side up. Drizzle figs evenly with honey and sprinkle evenly with brown sugar. Roast at 400˚F for 15 to 20 minutes.
To assemble the salad, place arugula, balsamic vinaigrette, shaved pecorino romano, roasted figs, and half the cornbread croutons in a large bowl and toss until well mixed. Makes 6 servings.
Nutrition: 510 calories, 20.5g fat, 5.5g fiber, 15.6g protein per serving
Cost: $2.45 per serving