Figs, Goat Cheese, and Mixed Greens with Candied Pecans

Figs, Goat Cheese, and  Mixed Greens with Candied Pecans

Adapted from the Rosé chapter of “100 Perfect Pairings: Small Plates to Enjoy with Wines You Love” by Jill Silverman Hough (Wiley, 2010)

This recipe is inspired by one of my favorite restaurants in nearby Sonoma, the Girl and the Fig, where a similar dish is one of the signature items.

Serves 6

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 12 dried or 6 fresh figs, stems trimmed, quartered
  • 12 cups loosely packed arugula (about 6 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup crumbled goat cheese (about 3 1/2 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup candied pecans, homemade (recipe follows) or store-bought

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, shallot, honey, salt, and pepper, whisking to dissolve the salt. Whisk in the olive oil. Set aside. (You can prepare the dressing up to 3 days in advance, storing it covered in the refrigerator. Return to room temperature before proceeding.)

In another small bowl, combine the figs with about 2 tablespoons of the dressing. In a large bowl, combine the arugula, cheese, and the remaining dressing to taste. Transfer the salad to a serving bowl or platter, or to individual plates, dividing it evenly. Arrange the figs and pecans on top and serve.

Homemade Candied Pecans
Of course you can buy candied nuts at the supermarket, but they’ll never taste as good as homemade.

Makes about 2 cups

2 cups raw pecans (about 7 ounces)
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine the pecans, corn syrup, sugar, and salt, tossing to thoroughly and evenly coat the nuts. Spread the nut mixture onto the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Bake until the nuts are browned and the sugar mixture is bubbling, about 18 minutes, stirring halfway through. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and cool completely. (You can prepare the nuts up to a week in advance, storing them at room temperature in an airtight container.)