Fig and Manchego Salad with Herbed Croutons

September 23, 2014

Test Kitchen-Approved

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)

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
In This Recipe


For the herbed croutons:

  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. 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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