Grilled Figs and Radicchio on a Rosemary Skewer with Cherry Tomato Salad
Source: Eric Tucker, Millennium.
This salad typifies early fall produce in the San Francisco Bay Area. Heirloom tomatoes are at their peak, sun-ripened figs make a brief appearance, and the chicory crops are just starting to be harvested. The rosemary branch perfumes the radicchio and figs as it grills. You can also prepare this salad with dehydrated dried figs, which have an intense flavor and chewy texture. The fig balsamic keeps indefinitely and makes a great marinade.
8 to 10 black Mission figs, halved
½ teaspoons ground cardamom
2 cups balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup Marsala Wine
1 dried Chile de Árbol (optional)
Peeled zest of ½ Orange
½ teaspoon allspice Berries (optional)
Juice of 1 orange
¼ teaspoon whole cloves (optional)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons walnut oil (optional), plus more as needed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (12-ounced) basket assorted cherry tomatoes, stemmed and halved
1 large head of radicchio, cut into 8 wedges
4 to 6 radishes, thinly sliced
12 firm black mission figs or 12 dried figs soaked for one hour in warm water and then drained 2 tablespoons minced fresh herbs (such as tarragon, oregano, and basil)
4 rosemary stalks, leaves striped
¼ cup lightly toasted walnuts for garnish (pg. 223 the Artful Vegan)
To make the fig balsamic
Combine all of the ingredients in a 2-quart nonreactive suacepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes, until reduced by one third. Strain fhough a fine sieve. Let cool to room temperature. (Store refrigerated for up to 2 months.)
To make the skewers
- Preheat the grill or broiler. In a large bowl, combine the garlic, 3 Tbsp fig balsamic, walnut oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper. With a wood or metal skewer, make a hole through each radicchio wedge, near the stem. Toss the radicchio wedges and the figs in the marinade to coat.
- Using a rosemary stalk, skewer a fig, then a radicchio wedge. Repeat until the skewer contains 3 figs and 2 radicchio wedges. Repeat with the remaining 3 skwers. Grill or broil for 1-½ minutes per side, or until the radicchio is lightly charred.
To make the salad
- Place a sauté pan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until the garlic just turns golden. Remove from the heat and transfer to a mixing bowl.
- Add the cherry tomatoes, radishes, fresh herbs, 2 tablespoons of the fig balsamic, and salt and pepper to taste.
Place one-quarter of the cherry tomato salad in the center of each plate. Place a fig skewer over it. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the toasted walnuts, and drizzle with more fig balsamic and walnut oil, if desired.