Arugula Salad with Dried Kalamata Figs, Wrinkled Olives and Pasteli
This is not a salad my grandmother would have ever dreamed of making! Arugula, called roka in Greek, is a favorite leafy green and is especially pungent and peppery when cultivated in the sunny dry climate that is Greece. This recipe is adapted from my latest book, My Greek Table, Authentic Flavors and Modern Home Cooking from My Kitchen to Yours.
- 8 cups fresh arugula wild if possible, trimmed
- 1 small red onion halved and cut into thin slices
- 6 dried Kalamata figs cut into slivers
- 3 tablespoons chopped pasteli or melekouni from Rhodes or other natural nut brittle
- ⅔ cup Greek wrinkled black olives, such as throumbes
- 1 ½ cups teardrop tomatoes halved lengthwise
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin Greek olive oil
- 1 ¾- inch round of Manouri ricotta salata or Haloumi cheese
For the Lemon-Honey Vinaigrette
- ½ cup extra virgin Greek olive oil
- 3 tablespoons fresh strained lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon Greek honey
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- Greek sea salt to taste
Trim and wash the arugula and spin dry in a salad spinner. Place in a mixing bowl together with the onions, figs, pasteli, olives, and tomatoes.
Whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing.
Toss the salad with the dressing and place in a large salad bowl. Adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper, if desired.
Heat a ribbed nonstick griddle pan and add the olive oil, tilting so that it is evenly distributed over the surface. Place the cheese round carefully on the surface of the hot pan. Sear it for a minute or two, and turn carefully, using a spatula, to sear nicely on the other side as well. Place over the salad in the bowl, or transfer to a cutting board and cut into four or six wedges and place one wedge each onto the serving plates. Serve immediately.