Grilled Fig Salad with Cantaloupe, Fennel, Arugula and Walnuts

Source: Adapted from Fig Heaven by Marie Simmons (William Morrow, 2004)

Recipe Type: | Seasons:

Perfectly ripened cantaloupe and figs, both in season at the same time, share the same sensually soft texture and perfume. The different flavor notes in this recipe–especially the sweetness of the fruit and honey, the saltiness of the nuts, and the acidity in the dressing– play off each other exceptionally well.

 Serves 4


1 cup walnuts
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons honey, divided
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ bulb fennel, about 6 ounces
4 to 6 large figs, firm and ripe, stems trimmed, halved lengthwise
1 teaspoon fig balsamic, or other balsamic vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
2 bunches arugula, stems trimmed (about 4 cups packed)
12 thin slices ripe cantaloupe, peeled and seeded


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the walnuts in a baking pan; drizzle with 1 tablespoon each of the oil and the honey; sprinkle with salt. Roast, stirring once or twice, until golden, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven; cool.

  2. Place the fennel bulb cut side down and cut into thin half circles. There should be about 1 cup. Place in a bowl of iced water and let stand about 20 minutes; drain well and pat dry.
  3. Preheat the grill or broiler. Arrange the figs, cut side up on a plate. Stir 1 tablespoon honey and 1 tablespoon lemon juice together until blended. Drizzle over the cut sides of the figs. Place cut sides up on a grill or under the broiler. Grill or broil until lightly browned and softened from the heat, 1 to 2 minutes. Do not turn.
  4. In a large bowl combine the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice, the balsamic vinegar, ½ teaspoon salt and a grinding of black pepper. Whisk until blended. Add the arugula, cantaloupe, and fennel; toss to coat.
  5. Distribute the salad among 4 plates, dividing the ingredients evenly. Place two halves of a grilled fig on each plate. Sprinkle with the walnuts. Serve at once.


Farmers Market Ingredients