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Sausage and Fig Salad with Pomegranate Dressing

My mom called the other day with a cooking quandary: “What do I do with all these fresh figs?” she asked. The fig tree in our backyard was producing hundreds of figs, ready to be picked, and short of eating them right off the tree, we discussed just what she should do.

We considered wrapping fresh figs in prosciutto and drizzling them with a balsamic glaze, poaching figs with ricotta for dessert, turning them into a tart, making preserves or jam, and then I said I’ve added them to my salad before. Salad with figs? Trust me, it works.

I had set aside the August issue of Bon Appétit not because I anticipated this problem, but because I absolutely love figs and an easy recipe for a fall dinner salad caught my eye. Unfortunately, since my mom’s fig tree is 700 miles away, I wouldn’t be helping her eat hers. But our little brainstorming session set my mind on figs, and it was only a matter of time before I had to go out and buy some of my own.

The Sausage and Fig Salad recipe is quite simple—mixed greens, grilled sausages and onions, fresh halved figs and goat cheese. But what made this recipe worthy of the mention was the Pomegranate-Cumin Dressing that was out-of-this-world good. The original recipe calls for pomegranate syrup, but I substituted reduced pomegranate juice, which is a lot easier to find.

Sausage and Fig Salad with Pomegranate-Cumin Dressing
Bon Appétit, August 2010

4 fresh lamb or Italian sausages
4 1/2-inch-thick red onion slices
Pomegranate-Cumin Dressing, divided (recipe below)
8 cups mixed greens
1/2 cup crumbled soft fresh goat cheese
6 fresh figs, halved
1/4 cup (packed) sliced fresh mint leaves

1. Prepare grill (medium-high heat). Brush sausages and onions with 3 tablespoons dressing; grill sausages until cooked, 15 minutes, and onions until charred, 10 minutes.

2. Toss greens with remaining dressing; mound on plates. Slice 4 sausages. Top greens with sausages, cheese, figs, and mint.

Serves 4.

Pomegranate-Cumin Dressing

1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses, or 1 cup pomegranate juice (see substitution note below)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons sliced fresh mint leaves
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3 tablespoons minced shallots

1. Whisk pomegranate molasses, oil, vinegar, mint and cumin, in a bowl. Mix in shallots; season with salt and pepper.

Note: To make pomegranate molasses, boil 1 cup pomegranate juice until reduced to 3 tablespoons syrup, about 15 minutes. Let cool. Use only 1 tablespoon of the reduced juice.

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