Fig and Manchego Salad with Herbed Croutons

By Elizabeth Stark
September 23, 2014
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Author Notes: Simple ingredients play off one another beautifully in this hearty fall salad. Manchego lends its buttery deliciousness to a big pile of bitter greens, sweet figs, and rustic herbed croutons. Elizabeth Stark

Serves: 2

For the herbed croutons:

  • Two 1/2 inch-thick slices stale bread (I like sourdough)
  • 1 large clove garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced mixed herbs (such as parsley, thyme, rosemary, chives, or tarragon)
  1. Rub each side of bread with the clove of garlic.
  2. Cut the bread into large triangles or cubes.
  3. Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil. When the oil is warm, add the bread pieces. Add a sprinkle of sea salt and cook each side for 3 to 4 minutes, or until a deep golden brown. Toss with ground black pepper and herbs.

For the salad and vinaigrette:

  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon honey
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 tablespoon minced mixed herbs
  • 4 cups tender bitter greens, such as arugula, mustard greens, or mizuna
  • 8 to 10 large figs, quartered
  • 10 triangular slices Manchego cheese
  • 2 triangular croutons
  1. Use a mortar and pestle to smash garlic and sea salt into a paste.
  2. Whisk the garlic mixture into the mustard, honey, and champagne vinegar, and then whisk in the olive oil. When mixture is emulsified, stir in shallots and herbs.
  3. In a large bowl, drizzle half the dressing over the greens and toss. Tuck figs and Manchego throughout. Toss gently, add a drizzle of dressing, and adjust seasoning. Plate each salad with two warm croutons.

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