For the last couple of weeks, ever since the chocolatey spring festivities have come and gone to be precise, I’ve been pretty busy off the screen and out of the kitchen. Looking back now, after a long and delicious day in the kitchen – the results of which will be coming your way really soon – I can say being kept from “cooking big” for a few isn’t all that bad after all.
Not just because it gave me some time to recharge my motivational batteries and gave the recipe section of my head some time for a bit of a Spring Cleaning while I wasn’t paying attention, it also made me value my auto-pilot “non-recipes” a bit more. You know, the kind of dinner you can throw together any day of the year in no time at all, that will always make you relax, lean back and sigh happily because, despite the breezy circumstances, it’s still a treat. So, after giving the whole situation a once-over, I decided to share two of my favorite easy-breezy quick fixes with you guys next, before (hopefully) wow’ing you guys with this years yumtastic Asparagus Season Finale! Anyways, for now, there’s a delicious salad to be had – one, I might add, that goes deliciously well with next weeks’ dish as well, but that one you’ll have to see, try and judge for yourself~
These amounts will net you 2 comfy dinner servings.
The Fig Mustard Vinaigrette
1 ½ heaped Tbsp of Fig Mustard – make sure it’s real Fig Mustard, not some sort of Fig and Mustard Sauce or relish… I made that mistake once and it didn’t end well for my vinaigrette.
1 Tsp of Dried Garden Savory
Opt: 1 Pinch of Dried Lovage – if you don’t just happen to have it flying around in your spice rack, use a pinch of Marjory or skip it entirely~
1 Tbsp Walnut Oil
1-2 Tbsp Lemon Juice – use Orange or Apple juice if you’d like the dressing to come out on the more mellow side of things
1 Tbsp of Fig/Pear Syrup or Honey – whenever I’m going with the pear-alternative listed in the salad ingredients, I use my Spiced Pear Syrup
2 Tbsp of White Balsamic Vinegar
1 Generous Pinch each of Herbed Sea Salt and freshly cracked Peppercorns
1) Place the mustard, the honey, the dried herbs and a very generous dusting of salt and pepper in a mixing bowl and pick up a whisk.
2) Drizzle in the oil in a steady stream as you whisk away.
3) Once the oil is nicely incorporated and you’re looking at a creamy, sunny paste, continue the whisking and work in the remaining liquids, starting with the syrup, then moving through the vinegar and using the plus one (or more) lemon-/orange-/apple juice to adjust the consistency at the end.
4) Have a taste of the dressing with a bit of ham and cheese on your test-spoon and adjust the seasoning and acidity levels if necessary.
5) If you have a bit of extra time on hand, you could marinate the (quartered) figs in this vinaigrette until you’re ready to plate up~
200g Lamb’s Lettuce
150-200g/8-10 Slices Serrano, Black Forest or Bayonne Ham – pick an intense ham for this, the vinaigrette does pack a bit of a punch
2 Small Shallots, very finely chopped
Alt 1: 1 Bunch of Chives, very finely chopped
Alt 2: a bit of both~
6-8 Fresh Figs – if you can’t find fresh figs, juicy pears make an excellent alternative
150-200g Semi-Firm Mild Goat’s Cheese Rounds – or not mild… simply pick your favorite, no maaaaaaatter how goaty it has to be to tickle your tastebuds in all the right places~
1 Handful of Walnuts, lightly toasted
2 heaped Tbsp of Dried Cranberries or Dried Figs, roughly chopped
Well, as these salady things often go, reading the ingredients out loud takes longer than assembling the whole thing…
1) Divvy the leaves onto two large plates or into comfy-to-eat-out-of salad bowls.
2) Sprinkle the heaps with the chives and/or shallots.
3) Gently pick the ham slices apart and arrange them on top.
4) Crumble the cheese disks on top of the ham, arrange the fig slices between the cheesy bits and drizzle the servings with the vinaigrette.
5) One last finishing flourish with the walnuts and cranberries and you’re ready to dig in~!