I'm doing everything I can to savor these last few days of Fall, before Old Man Winter officially settles in on the 21st. This salad celebrates Fall with seasonal favorites such as ripe, juicy apples and plump, sweet figs and grapes. The symphony of fruit is wonderfully complemented by the salty, crunchy bacon, the toasted nuts and the aggressively strong cheese, gorgonzola.
My sister made this salad for her birthday party, and I loved everything about it. Figs are the most temperamental ingredient, so I plan on making this salad anytime I have access to fresh figs. I have fond memories of my grandmother’s fig tree in Prarieville, Louisiana, and I’m sure that the figs it produced would have taken this salad to the next level. The sweet nectar of those figs had a unique burst-in-your-mouth flavor. Fortunately, the other ingredients in this salad work so well together that any supermarket variety of figs will do the trick of uniting the Fall-inspired components of this dish.
- 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
- 2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 5 ounces bacon
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 2 large apples, cut into wedges
- 1/2 cup lightly toasted nuts (pecans, walnuts, or hazelnuts)
- 3 cups arugula
- 4 ounces gorgonzola, crumbled
- 1 cup grapes, quartered
- 8 fresh figs, quartered
- Make dressing by whisking the olive oil, lemon juice, and mustard together. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
- Cook bacon until crispy. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to absorb the grease. Crumble bacon into medium-sized pieces.
- Remove all bacon fat from skillet except two teaspoons bacon fat. Add butter and allow to melt over medium heat. Add apple wedges and cook until lightly browned, about 4 minutes.
- Stir in nuts and allow to cook 2 more minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat.
- Place arugula in a large salad bowl. Add all toppings and dressing and toss. Serve immediately.