Marinated Fresh Fig And Mozzarella Salad
Conspicuously fabulous ingredients intensify sweet figs at their pinnacle in this filling mid-summer salad, no oven required.
All images and text ©Jenny DeRemer for Not Entirely Average, LLC
Fresh mozzarella is made from whole milk which results when buffalo, cow or goat milk is mixed with rennet. Curds form which are then heated and stretched until the cheese reaches its characteristically soft consistency. Fresh mozzarella always has a high moisture content of at least 50% and is very soft and very creamy. It is prized Italian cheese.
Processed mozzarella is real cheese cut with other, non-cheese ingredients. Those extra ingredients can include salt, food dyes, preservatives, extra dairy, emulsifiers, or other artificial ingredients. These ingredients are added to melted, pasteurized cheese, which is then converted to a sliced solid. Processed mozzarella has less than 50% moisture to make it less perishable. It is sold like other commercial cheeses in balls, slices, shreds or sticks.
I love market visits that require me to do no more than load some baguette, greens, and wine to my buggy. You read that correctly. It’s summer. Who the heck wants to turn the oven on?
For the next four to six weeks, I’m going to be all about my Aperol Spritzes, glasses of well-chilled rosés, and easy summer salad recipes that are as belly-filling as a Thanksgiving dinner. Well, maybe not on that ‘have to take a nap now’ level, but healthy and super satisfying, C’mon, you get it!
You may wonder who on earth would write so many back to back recipes about figs. Well, that’d be me, and oh, I am eating everything I assemble for Not Entirely Average, too! Yes I love figs. But not necessarily any more than say rhubarb or artichokes. Why then am I hyper-focused on the fig?
Figs are that fresh ingredient that have a super short window of availability. We figgy peeps wait and wait until the moment arrives and they are ready for picking. Unfortunately, that moment is usually met with much of the fruit falling from the tree and spoiling on the ground.
Snap your fingers. THAT is how fast figs are here and then gone. The timing of the fruit for we figgy peeps means grabbing as many as we can and savoring their summer song for the few days they are with us.
Do You Have What’s Needed To Make a Fresh Fig And Mozzarella Salad? Check The List!
fresh Buffalo mozzarella or Burrata
extra virgin olive oil
whole grain Dijon mustard
How This Recipe Came About…
Last week and this mark the American south’s influx of ripe fresh figs. That’s right, trees from all over are busting out in beautiful hues of purple, green, and magenta. These fragile fleshy fruits are quick to ripen and even quicker to spoil if not picked and eaten within their few day window of greatness.
A fig mozzarella salad recipe salad is not new. Nor are the conspicuously fab supporting ingredients in this filling little dish. What IS unique about this recipe is the very simple, very quick to come together vinaigrette. This timely recipe hails from our neighbors over at Southern Living Magazine. I may be letting too much be known, but I love this fig mozzarella salad recipe even more than I love a good caprese salad. Yup…
I like it so much for two reasons, the first being it’s a fabulous way to eat up the riches of an abundant fig tree. Just ask my friend Sarah whose tree all of these gems were harvested from. The second, the vinaigrette is beautiful for marinating the figs, and then I like to use a scant amount of it to brush over top shrimp or chicken breasts just before I pull them from the grill. There’s a summer freshness about it all…
How To Make Marinated Fig And Mozzarella Salad?
My friend Sarah has a fig tree. And this is not Sarah’s first summer wrestling with how best to eat all of the abundance her gorgeous tree yields. So when the ripening got going, Sarah started texting! Myself and countless grateful others broke speed limits to get to her house and collect bowls of fresh purple fruits earmarked for us. Y’all don’t get it – this is like CHRISTMAS for us!
So, the first thing you need for this delish fig mozzarella salad recipe is a mess of figs. Don’t worry. When they ripen in backyards, the stores begin to populate them. You’ll likely notice an array of varieties. Black mission, brown turkeys, Celeste…it doesn’t matter which ones you select, just make sure they look RIPE and give just a little when GENTLY squeezed between your fingers.
Here’s where the ease of this recipe comes in…shopping for fresh arugula, a ball of fresh mozzarella cheese, and a bit of salty prosciutto. What’s easy about it? Because that’s it. That’s the gist of the dish. Thought you’d have a longer shopping list? Think again…
Whenever does this happen I ask, where a handful of fresh ingredients make up a whole meal? Oh, the vinaigrette? Most of those ingredients you probably already have on hand… recipes quick to come together and which require little to no actual cooking are keepers in my book!
Modifying The Norm To Make It Not Entirely Average…
So you’ve got a few items you’re pushing around in your shopping buggy and you’re thinking “can dinner be this easy?” If you think you’ll need more, consider grilling some items such as chicken, shrimp, or steak. Any may be consumed as a side to this fig mozzarella salad recipe or atop it.
I personally love a mix of fresh baby spinach with the arugula. Massaged kale works well also and adds a ton of good-for-you’s. To the greens, feel like you may add chopped fresh mint, chopped or torn fresh basil leaves, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, or a healthy glug of grapeseed oil in lieu of the olive oil. Salt and freshly cracked pepper should be used but in moderation.
Sometimes, prosciutto is unavailable to me unless I make a special trip to my butcher. When I don’t have the energy, serrano ham, coppa, and even a duck prosciutto serve as the cured salty goodness to off-set the marinated figs.
If color is needed, paper thin sheets of red onion, watermelon radish, or a drizzle of balsamic vinegar glaze will bring the rest of the rainbow to your salad bowl. Toasted pine nuts and candied pecans offer a nice crunch.
What To Serve With Marinated Fig And Mozzarella Salad?
If I serve this as a main dish salad, I offer a mixed bread basket on the table comprised of bakes from my most popular bread recipes. I cut thick but small pieces and stuff the baskets with my zucchini bread, buttermilk white bread, Spinach Feta Cheese Bread, Pecan Streusel Banana Bread, and my corn bread. This way, there’s something for every eater and the range is from mild to sweet.
If I am serving this salad as a side to a main or several mains, I choose grilled foods like my Cajun Steak and Patatas Bravas and my Perfectly Perfect Chicken Drumsticks. Grilled proteins marry well with the flavor of fig even before they lock eyes on the dinner table. It’s a thing.
Other dinner recipes a fresh fig salad compliments include Chicken Française, Capellini Beurre Blanc with Bronzed Sea Scallop, or Herb Crusted Pork With Zinfandel Reduction.
What To Drink With Marinated Fig And Mozzarella Salad?
Champagne, Prosecco, bubbles, or a Negroni. Go dry and buy quality. I also enjoy these alongside an Aperol Spritz. Light. Bright. Ethereal. This is the essence of figs, so enjoy with something of equal caliber.
Can Marinated Fig And Mozzarella Salad Be Made In Advance?
The dressing absolutely can be made ahead by a day. I do not advise marinating the ripe figs for any longer than the 30 minutes specified. Any amount of time beyond the 30 minutes and the flesh begins to break down. Nobody will enjoy mushy sweet figs, least of all you.
How To Serve Marinated Fig And Mozzarella Salad?
My preference here is to serve this gorgeous salad as a starter. Sarah gifted each of us so many figs, I was able to manage four rather large starter salads for my family and I. To ensure equal amounts of fig and mozzarella for each person, I chose to plate in the kitchen versus going the proverbial serving bowl on the middle of my table. Too often, I am left with dressed greens and nothing else!
Marinated Fresh Fig And Mozzarella Salad
- wire whisk
- large mixing bowl
Ingredients for Marinated Fresh Fig And Mozzarella Salad
for the vinaigrette
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon whole grain Dijon mustard
for the salad
- 16 fresh figs halved lengthwise
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella
- 4 ounces prosciutto torn into thin strips and pieces
- 2 cups arugula loosely packed
- Whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients. Taste for salt and pepper and add as necessary. Divide the vinaigrette in half. Add the fig halves to one half the vinaigrette and gently stir to coat. Allow to stand 30 minutes. Transfer the remaining vinaigrette to a cruet or sauceboat.
- Add arugula to a large salad bowl. Using a slotted spoon, remove the figs from the vinaigrette to another bowl. Add several tablespoonfuls of the vinaigrette used to marinate the figs to the arugula and toss well to coat.
- Distribute equally between 4 salad plates or a large salad platter. Arrange mozzarella and ham atop the arugula. Finish by topping with the marinated figs and another LITE drizzle of the vinaigrette used to marinate the figs.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately with the reserved vinaigrette tableside.
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