Thursday, September 20, 2012

Smoky Arugula & Fig Salad with Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette

I can sense that fig season is winding down. It makes me sad. I simply adore these purple orbs of joy. The bright, vivid garnet color and tiny seeds that glisten with the light hits them, have a regal appeal. From my infamous Balsamic Fig Jam to pizza adorned with figs, I am simply mad about figs.

I guess when the season is complete; I will always have the dried mission figs from Trader Joes along with my stash of jam I made. Speaking of Trader Joes, it just has to be one of the BEST places on earth. My love affair with this store is strong. Each visit seems to yield a new product that either I have overlooked or is simply just that – new!

Ever since visiting Oxbow Market in Napa several months ago, I am obsessed with anything smoky. We tasted smoked olive oil and different salts with smoky additions. I was strolling down the cheese section at Trader Joes and found Smoked Mozzarella. The hint of smoke is muddled throughout this creamy delight. I used it on lavash bread with an addition of cherry tomatoes to make a refreshing pizza. With this salad I thought it would be a wonderful accompaniment to the figs and the smoky almonds from Trader Joes.

I was craving a salad and after pursuing the refrigerator and pantry, these ingredients simply sang to me. The sweetness of the figs along with the smoky components and the creamy balsamic dressing were a marriage made in heaven.

Smoky Arugula & Fig Salad with Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette

8 C. Arugula
½ Medium Red Onion, sliced thin
¾ C. Smoked Mozzarella Cheese, grated
½ C. Smoked Almonds, rough chop
8 to 10 Fresh Figs, quartered

Creamy Balsamic Dressing

1 Shallot, minced
2 T. Mayonnaise
1 T. Dijon mustard
2 t. Honey
½ t. Salt
8 Grinds of fresh ground pepper
½ C. Balsamic Vinegar
1 C. Olive Oil

Add all ingredients to a pint sized mason jar and place the lid on top. Shake well and let sit in refrigerator for at least one hour to develop flavors. Refrigerate after using. 

Toss with salad ingredients and enjoy!


  1. That salad is gorgeous! I love balsamic dressing, and this creamy version sounds wonderful. Now if only we had a Trader Joe's here :(

  2. Figs in an arugula salad- you have my complete attention! I'm a big Trader Joe's fan too;-) Fig season is just too short, I'll have to pick up a basket this weekend and try your delicious salad;-)

  3. So glad I've now discovered figs! We've been eating the fig balsamic jam pretty much every day. It won't be long until my 2 little jars are gone. This salad sounds perfect...I love the combination of smoked mozarella, peppery arugula, sweet figs and tangy balsamic dressing. Yum.

  4. I love this salad, Lisa! The smoked mozzarella is the perfect way to tie these delicious flavors together!

  5. I'm loving this salad, Lisa. I love the balance of flavors you've created here from the peppery arugula to the sweet figs and all that smoky goodness! I'm very happy to have a stash of your fig balsamic jam, too. I'll try to make it last until the next season but it will be hard!

    Have a great weekend.

  6. You always make such beautiful salads! Very simple to prepare but looks so elegant! And I love seeing mayonnaise being used here as I've never combined it with balsamic vinegar. That sounds fun experiment for me! And I haven't tried "smoked" mozzarella. I'll check that out. I liked smoked gouda a lot and I bet it's delish!

  7. Arugula, figs, and balsamic vinegar are one of my favorite flavor combinations. I love the addition of the smoked mozzarella to this lovely looking salad. I plan to give this a try very soon. Have a great weekend!

  8. i just bought some figs today, maybe the last ones of the season and plan on making a tart tomorrow.
    Your salad is so beautiful, now I wonder if I have enough figs for both.

  9. I just made this salad and it is delicious. The smoky cheese really does go well with the fresh, sweet figs. This recipe is a keeper.

    1. So glad that you enjoyed the salad! The smoky flavor is the key! Happy Sunday!!

  10. Lisa, everything about your salad speaks to me. Figs, arugula, and smokey nuts. Yes!
    I'm still waiting for our backyard figs to ripen. So hard to wait!
    PS I can't remember if I've seen you write about smoked salt. Have you tried it? It is a heavenly way to impart that smokey flavor you love. I am so into it.

    1. Thank you Erin! I am in love with smoked salt. First introduced at the Spice shop at Oxbow Market in Napa. I have an alderwood smoked salt at home that is amazing. :)


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