Fig & Cheese Salad: A Grilled Cheese On Your Salad! | The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures - The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures Fig & Cheese Salad: A Grilled Cheese On Your Salad! | The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures
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Fig & Cheese Salad: A Grilled Cheese On Your Salad!

Most of us love a grilled cheese sandwich, most of us could eat more salad. So today’s tip combines both: a green salad with a grilled cheese crouton.

Here’s a recipe to start you off. The recipe has a number of steps to create the complex flavors. But if you like the concept, you can use any combinations of salad ingredients and cheese croutons that you enjoy.

The recipe, which is courtesy Wisconsin Cheese, was created by Chef Kristine Subido, owner of Pecking Order restaurant in Chicago.

Chef Subido used Wisconsin bread cheese, a firm cheese based on the Finnish cheese Juustoleipa (also known as Leipäjuusto and Finnish squeaking cheese), traditionally made with rich milk from a cow that has recently calved.

Like feta, halloumi, paneer and queso blanco, the cheese doesn’t melt when heated. You can throw any of these cheeses on the grill or into the microwave to produce squares of delicious warm cheese.

Chef Subido added excitement by using a raisin-nut baguette for the croutons, which complements the pears in the salad. If you can’t find a fancy baguette, use what’s available.

Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 6 thin slices raisin-nut baguette, drizzled with olive oil and salt
  • 2 cups dried black mission figs, quartered
  • 3 cups red wine
  • 1 ounce (about 2 tablespoons) shallots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fig vin cotto or balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup olive oil for vinaigrette
  • 12 ounces Wisconsin bread cheese or substitute (feta, halloumi, paneer, queso blanco)
  • 2 ripe Anjou pears, seeded and julienned (substitute Bosc)
  • 8 ounces baby arugula or mixed salad greens
  • Salt and pepper to taste

    For The Croutons: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Make the croutons with 6 slices of baguette (1/4″ to 1/2″ thick); drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake until toasted, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

    For The Figs: Combine the figs and red wine in a small sauce pan and simmer until the figs are soft, about 15 minutes. Turn the heat off and reserve the figs in the wine. Chill.

    For The Dressing: Combine the shallots and vinegar in a bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    For The Cheese: Preheat the oven or broiler to 375°F. Cut the cheese in 6 slices that will fit atop the croutons. Place the cheese on a cookie sheet and bake until soft; about 5 minutes. If using a microwave, cook for 30 seconds until soft.
    Assembly: Drain the figs, reserving the wine. Combine the pears, figs and arugula. Toss with dressing; season to taste. Divide among six salad plates. Place crouton on each salad. Top each with 1/2 slice of the warm cheese. Season with pepper and drizzle some reserved red wine over salad. Serve immediately.


    [1] Toasted bread with melted cheese atop a tangy salad (photo © Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board).

    [2] Raisin-nut toast (photo © Waitrose).

    [3] d’Anjou pears (photo © Good Eggs).

    [4] Dried mission figs (photo © California Figs).



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