This yummy fresh fig salad with Cabrales blue cheese, walnuts and bacon (fried and then pan de-glazed with PX Sherry), was the first thing I served to guests on a recent course. When at the end of the course we were discussing favourite dishes of the week – guests kept referring back to this spectacular salad recipe. I sometimes use pears when figs are unavailable or in the picture above, I use yummy ripe Mango and avocado. The options are endless. Stilton makes a great alternative to Cabrales.
For years I’ve been assembling a salad combo of avocado, bacon, mango and walnut with Roquefort. Not because I don’t want to use a Spanish blue cheese, it’s just that the much sought after blue cheese of Spain’s dairy herds in Asturias, Cabrales, has been impossible to find here. That was until recently when Palomita (the best deli in Vejer) started stocking it. It was one of those real jump up and down for joy moments when I saw it winking at me from Mari-Paz’s deli counter. In the past I’ve mixed brevas with Roquefort and even had the opportunity to use mango with Cabrales, but – WOW – brevas with Cabrales!! It was incredible. I’m not one for keeping leftover salad because lettuce looks really unappealing when it’s been ‘cooked’ by vinegar but the salad combo was so delicious that the tiny bit left over was popped into the fridge. And the following day? The flavours were still sensational.
To make this fig salad recipe with cheese, walnuts and bacon, this is what you need: one salad bowl and the following ingredients assembled to make this scrummy salad of total divineness.
You will need:
- 8 x large brevas or fresh figs, peeled and quartered or 2 large pears or 1 large Mango
- 1 x pkt of chopped bacon bits (approx 120gms).
- 100mls PX Sherry to de glaze.
- Huge handful of peeled Walnuts, toasted lightly in dry fry pan.
- 100gms of Cabrales or Roquefort or Stilton – crumbled.
- The best sweet lettuce you can find – Romaine, lettuce hearts etc.
How to make the dish:
- Begin by washing and drying the lettuce and put in bowl.
- Toast walnuts in dry fry pan and decant onto a plate after toasting.
- Wipe fry pan clean of any walnut skins with a dry cloth and return pan to a high heat.
- Cut figs into quarter, peel and scatter over lettuce along with crumbled Cabrales and walnuts. Or peel then slice pears thickly and sprinkle with lemon juice.
- Grind some black pepper on top.
- Add bacon to burning hot fry pan then patiently leave to sizzle and brown for maybe a minute before you start to toss/stir. When browned you may want to wipe away excess fat with paper towel.
- Turn the heat down and add PX.
- Bubble until slightly reduced.
- Scatter over salad with a good slug of Extra Virgin olive oil and a generous splash of Sherry vinegar.
- Toss gently.
Like my take on a fresh fig salad recipe? For another quick and delicious Mediterranean dish, check out my chickpea, orange and mint salad.