The San Franciscan Salad–Figs, Of Course

by Young Victorians

A couple  years ago, David Chang, the genius behind the Momofuku group, slammed the San Franciscan food scene at the New York Food & Wine Festival. The King of Ramen complained, “Fuckin’ every restaurant in San Francisco is just serving figs on a plate. Do something with your food.” Whoa there, watch your language Chef!

Figs do heavy lifting on SF menus in the late summer / early fall. But rightfully so–the combination is delicious. And there aren’t many places in the world where you can eat fresh, local figs harvested the same day. And so when I saw panachée figs at the Noe Valley Farmer’s Market, I grabbed a pint.  Having recently purchased Yotam Ottolenghi’s new cookbook, Plenty, I decided to try his fig salad. You can find the modified recipe after the jump.

-1 tsp finely chopped Shallot
-½ tsp Dijon mustard
-2 tsp Pomegranate Molasses (can be found at Middle Eastern and higher end supermarkets)
-3 tbsp (45 mL) EVOO, plus a little more
-3 cups of mixed greens or arugula
-6 Figs, cut into halves or quarters lengthwise depending on size
-4 oz (125 g) Fresh Ricotta (Ottolenghi recommends fresh, creamy goat cheese, but I prefer ricotta)
-salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Place shallots, mustard, pomegranate molasses and a little salt and pepper in a bowl. Whisk vigorously while adding olive oil. Dressing should be homogeneous.
2. Toss arugula with dressing and arrange on a serving platter. Top with figs and cheese.
3. Drizzle with a bit of extra olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Scatter pomegranate seeds on top.

I’m definitely going to continue to play around with this salad–the ingredients are just too good not to. Ottolenghi’s pomegranate vinaigrette may be too sweet for some (I liked it). Perhaps skip the pomegranate molasses and instead add pomegranate seeds? Ditch the greens and serve the figs and ricotta dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette and chopped basil? The combinations are endless and well worth exploring, and that’s why David Chang is wrong about serving figs in San Francisco.