This salad hits on all our taste sensations, the pepperiness of the greens with the sweetness of the fresh figs, the crunch of the toasted hazelnuts and the saltiness of the parmesan cheese. I love arugula, when my girls were small, I bought a case of it and we ate arugula twice a day till it was gone. It took a year before they even wanted to look at it again. Now they can’t get enough and would love it if someone brought them a case.
When I shop for fresh figs, I look for a little drip of liquid at the bottom or eye of the fig, telling me they are ripe. Somehow figs manage to be crunchy, sweet and chewy all at the same time. This effortless salad is delicious without them but figs take it to another level of flavor. After Toasting, the skin cracks and the nuts are golden.
Rub the nuts together inside the tea towel to remove the dark outer coating.
Arugula Salad with Fresh Figs, Toasted Hazelnuts and Shaved Parmesan Recipe
Prep time 30 minutes
If your hazelnuts are toasted and peeled, prep time is 10 minutes.
8 ounces of baby arugula
4 ounces fresh figs
1/8 cup toasted, peeled hazelnuts (see notes)
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon maple syrup
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Whisk together lemon juice with Dijon mustard, maple syrup and a pinch of salt and pepper. Slowly pour in olive oil while whisking. (This can also all be put in a small jar and shake it vigorously to blend.)
Roughly chop toasted hazelnuts into two or three pieces each.
Cut the tough part of the stem off the figs and cut them into quarters.
Using a potato peeler, shave slices off of the parmesan cheese, about 5 slices per person.
Toss together the arugula, the figs, reserving a few for the top and the dressing. Plate the salad, then sprinkle the top with the hazelnuts, the reserved figs and the shaved parmesan.
Toasting Hazelnuts: Place on a sided baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for 8 minutes until golden.
Peeling Hazelnuts: Toast as above, after 8 minutes when the skins crack put the hazelnuts into a tea towel and rub them together.