Assembling a salad from leftover ingredients in my pantry can be a risky endeavor. In my college days, one could search my kitchen and find a stash of ketchup, marshmallows, and some questionably fuzzy-looking bread (Oh, how did my roommates and I survive?). These days, I feel so grown-up to say that I can find an array of well-stocked items: a bag of dried figs I planned to use over the holidays, a beautiful bottle of balsamic vinegar I’d been meaning to open, half a bag of sliced almonds, an apple, leftover ricotta (from the Eggplant-Ricotta-Tomato Crostini that we made again as our entire dinner the other night), and some orange-blossom honey. Put them all together with some greens, and they seem like they were meant for each other, melding into a flavorful, colorful, and fresh salad. Here’s to a grown-up pantry. Enjoy!
Dried Fig, Apple, Ricotta & Toasted Almond Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette
(Makes 4 smallish salads)
- About 6 dried figs, each cut into quarters or smaller bites
- One Granny Smith apple, core removed and sliced thinly
- Several small spoonfuls of soft ricotta cheese (about 100 g./3-4 ounces)
- 100 g./3-4 ounces of sliced almonds, lightly toasted in a skillet without any oil
- 1 large package of mixed greens (I used a mix of arugula, baby spinach and other spring greens)
- For the vinaigrette: 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup honey (any kind will do), a drizzle of olive oil to emulsify (I didn’t measure, but go by sight/consistency as you whisk it in and give it a taste), fine sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
Directions: Cut up the dried figs and apples and toast the almonds. Mix the vinaigrette, starting with the balsamic, then honey, and then whisk in the olive oil as you drizzle it in slowly. Taste the vinaigrette and add salt & pepper to taste. In a separate bowl, toss the greens with some of the vinaigrette until evenly coated. Transfer the dressed greens to salad bowls and arrange the apples, figs, and spoonfuls of ricotta on top. Drizzle each bowl with more vinaigrette and sprinkle on the toasted almonds. Serve immediately.