the sexy fig undressed – arugula, fig, and blue cheese salad

August 25, 2013
arugula, fig and blue cheese salad

Fig, fruit of the female mystery, covert and inward,

Mediterranean fruit, with your covert nakedness,
Where everything happens invisible, flowering and fertilization, and fruiting
In the inwardness of your you, that eye will never see….

from “Figs” by DH Lawrence

Figs are amongst the oldest known fruits – with references dating back to the ninth century BC. They are said to have been  Cleopatra’s favourite fruit; widely thought to be an aphrodisiac; and revered by the ancient Greeks as a symbol of abundance, love, fertility, and sweetness. The fig plant appears in  the story of Adam and Eve. And of course, in DH Lawrence’s erotic poem – “Figs” (link to full poem).

But besides all that – figs are just plain trendy. They’re a current high-fashion food item cropping up in kitchens and on menus all over the place. And for good reason. They’re on various super-food lists for their many health-related benefits and because they are good served raw, cooked, and dried – and work in both savoury and sweet dishes – they are a fabulous ingredient to work with.  My favourite pizza is made with pesto, figs, and blue-cheese and one of my all-time favourite appetizers is this fig and olive tapenade. 

The season for fresh figs is relatively short.  In North America, they’re typically available in late summer – pre-fall.  This simple three ingredient salad is a great combination of robust flavours – the slightly bitter taste of arugula makes a perfect backdrop for the sweetness of figs and both are offset by the creaminess of the blue cheese.

Arugula, Fig, and Blue Cheese Salad

Adjust the quantities to suit yourself!

Fresh arugula (known elsewhere in the world as “rocket”)
Ripe, fresh figs
Creamy blue cheese such as blue brie, Gorgonzola, creamy Danish blue, or Cambozola.


Whisk together equal parts of extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar. Sweeten with a tiny taste of maple syrup or honey. I generally use 1/4 cup each of olive oil and balsamic vinegar and about a teaspoonful of maple syrup.

To assemble the salad – wash and dry the arugula and figs. Slice the figs in half. Toss the figs and arugula in the dressing and place crumbled blue cheese atop the figs.

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  • Reply Jennifer Smeltzer August 25, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Oh my….. Sounds like a perfect salad. Cannot wait to try it! Although, I must confess…… had me at “sexy”..

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen August 25, 2013 at 10:20 am

      Oh those figs!
      DH Lawrence’s poem made me laugh out loud – I don’t know why he didn’t just write full-on erotica without all that beating around the bush…

  • Reply apuginthekitchen August 25, 2013 at 10:18 am

    Great history lesson, love figs and had no idea they are so trendy!! This is a wonderfully simple and delicious salad using pretty much my favorite fruit!!

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen August 25, 2013 at 10:21 am

      Figs absolutely deserve their trendiness! Now the cronut burger – I’m not so sure…. 😉

  • Reply An Embarrassment of Freedom August 25, 2013 at 10:25 am

    Another intriguing salad idea to try! I LOVE Fig Newton cookies, call me crazy.
    Lately I tried to read some DH Lawrence, but it was so DH Lawrence,,,ha ,so I set it aside for another time. ( Have you ever read Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons? Or watched the movie? It is a wonderful spoof of Lawrence’s style)

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen August 25, 2013 at 10:34 am

      I LOVE Cold Comfort Farm. Have only seen the movie – but it’s such a gem. And yes – perhaps Lawrence was some sort of depraved, repressed sex maniac! Also love fig newton cookies. Though I go years between packets of them. Must put them on my list – thanks for the reminder! 😉

  • Reply bakeaffairs August 25, 2013 at 11:17 am

    mmhh sounds and looks absolutely delicious!

  • Reply abrooke65 August 25, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    Gorgeous salad. Perfect mix of bitter and sweet!

  • Reply Food and Forage Hebrides August 26, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    Brilliant words by DH Lawrence, to accompany a wonderful ingredient. trendy they may be, but so delicious with blue cheese, thanks.

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen August 30, 2013 at 10:54 pm

      Thanks Tracey! Lovely to see you here. Hope your Hebridean summer is lingering on yet. I’m not quite ready to give summer up… we’re still getting fresh peaches and apricots and mountains of beautiful blueberries.

  • Reply Karen August 27, 2013 at 9:18 am

    I think this is one of my all time favorite salads. The peppery arugula and sweet figs go so well the the strong flavor of blue cheese.

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen August 31, 2013 at 11:18 pm

      Thanks Karen! I’m a big fan of simple, flavourful ingredients, and minimal fuss cooking. 😉

  • Reply tinywhitecottage August 30, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    Just bought a bunch of figs yesterday. This is a perfect way to enjoy them I must say. I really like how you dabbed the blue cheese just on the figs. And your dressing is so simple and spot on for this salad. My default dressing is always olive oil and balsamic…then some add-ins… never used maple syrup before, sounds great. I love this salad. (I’m a little behind in my “visits” working too much this past week!) Loved the information on the figs too. 🙂

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen August 30, 2013 at 10:42 pm

      I know exactly what you mean about being behind in blog visits… two jobs, two children, two pets, elderly mother – on it goes. Life in all its glory! Have so enjoyed catching up tonight though and am now ravenously hungry. Could just use a slice of your cherry yoghurt breakfast cake and a cup of tea in a china cup.
      And yes – a touch of maple syrup in olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette does something inexplicable – it smooths out the flavour in the most remarkable way. Or perhaps it’s just my imagination! 😉

      • Reply tinywhitecottage August 30, 2013 at 10:47 pm

        Lindy…I thought I was behind with dinner in the oven at 7:45 in the evening, with a starving teenager (and myself too) It appears to be 10.45 pm for you and you are ravenous! 🙂 Nice to hear from you tonight.

        • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen August 30, 2013 at 10:50 pm

          Dinner was a long time ago…. I’m going to bed shortly. Hungry. Sigh…. 😉

  • Reply Georgina August 31, 2013 at 2:50 am

    Your salad looks lovely. I think I’m slightly obsessed with figs at the moment, and my favourite way of eating them (today, at least!) is divided into quarters with a thin slice of pecorino. Beautiful!

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