Figs and Arugula with Creamy Goat Cheese and Toasted Pecans

Source: Linda Carucci, author of Cooking School Secrets for Real World Cooks (Chronicle Books, 2005).

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For this salad, look for dark-purple-skinned Black Mission figs at your local farmers’ market. At their peak of freshness, figs should yield to gentle pressure and feel heavy for their size; a little drop of moisture sometimes appears underneath. Buy them ripe and fragrant, as they tend not to soften much once they’re picked. Figure on about 12 medium Black Mission figs to the pound. To help prevent fresh figs from becoming moldy, once home, store them on a plate in a single layer with space among them. If it’s particularly hot or humid, refrigerate figs as soon as they ripen.

Serves 4-6


⅔ cup pecan halves
8 ounces arugula or mixed baby salad greens, picked over, rinsed, and spun dry
8 ripe Black Mission figs (about 10 ounces), cut lengthwise into quarters
¼ small red onion, cut crosswise into very thin slices and separated into rings
¼ cup walnut oil or bold-tasting extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons white balsamic or other white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 ounces creamy, mild goat cheese, chilled


  1. Place the pecans in a single layer on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high for 3 minutes, stirring at 1-minute intervals. (Alternatively, toast pecans in a toaster oven or preheated 350-degree oven for 6 to 8 minutes, until they become fragrant.) Set aside to cool.

  2. Place the arugula or salad greens, figs, and red onions in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with the oil and vinegar and toss well. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper and toss. Crumble the pecans, saving a few nice halves for garnish, and toss with the salad. Crumble the goat cheese into ¼-inch clumps as you add it to the salad. Toss gently and taste. Adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Divide among salad plates and garnish with the reserved pecans.


Farmers Market Ingredients