Saturday, August 7, 2010

Fig salad with feta cheese, Meyer lemon and thyme

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Fig trees all over southern California are finally giving up their hard-earned fruit. I'm lucky enough to have access to two beautiful old fig trees, which live behind the Pilates studio where I sweat once a week. No one else seems interested in the figs, which I really don't understand. I had never tasted a fresh fig before I moved to California, and now I mourn all the years I went without. I can't sleep at night knowing the beautiful fruit from these trees might go to waste, so I pick five or 10 pounds each week during the season and turn them into fig jam, fig chutney, fig cake, or fig and goat cheese tart.

Last night I was invited to a girls' potluck, and after packing my 11-year-old's suitcase for his week with Grandma and two weeks at music camp, then making dinner for my husband and the kids, I didn't have time to bake the fig cake I'd planned to bring. So I improvised this fig salad with feta cheese, thyme and Meyer lemon. I thought it would be okay, fine, passable; instead it was exquisite. I love when that happens.

I didn't actually use the Pilates crop for last night's fig salad, because my wonderful friend and coworker Hilary had brought me a flat of Mecca Gold figs from Farmers Choice, a new produce market here in Santa Monica. I'll use the Pilates figs when I make this same fig salad tonight for another potluck - just to make sure the recipe is really as good as I think it is. (It is.)

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Fig salad with feta cheese, Meyer lemon and thyme
When fresh figs are in season, pair them with salty feta for this beautiful summer salad.
  • 1 pound fresh figs, ripe but not mushy
  • 3 ounces feta cheese
  • 1 Meyer lemon, zest and juice
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
Wash the figs well and cut off the stems. Quarter the figs and scatter them in one layer, more or less, on a large platter. If there are a few sitting on top of the others, that's fine, but don't make a huge pile or they'll crush each other.Scatter the feta cheese and the Meyer lemon zest over the figs. Sprinkle with the Meyer lemon juice and olive oil. Scatter the fresh thyme leaves over the top, then add salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 6-8 servings


Monet said...

I'm so jealous of those fig trees you're able to pick. I had a fresh fig at the farmer's market this morning, but they were just too expensive to buy! This looks like a lovely end of summer salad!

Erika Kerekes said...

@Monet - just curious. How expensive? And where are you again? At my farmers' market in Santa Monica this morning, figs were $5/pint. I wouldn't have bought them either. That's like 8 figs.

Margaret Studer said...

They had figs at the local farmers' market this week and I missed them! I hope they are there next week. I want to make this salad.

Erika Kerekes said...

Margaret - they should be. Fig season is peaking now and normally runs through mid-September, possibly later this year because of the cool weather.

Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. said...

This looks delish!

Sippity Sup said...

Figs are such a treat. They are best right from the tree so I forage them! GREG

marla {family fresh cooking} said...

Great flavors in this salad Erika. I would love if you added this and any other links to my "Happy Post" today.

Erika Kerekes said...

Silly Marla - I already did! :)

Catering In Brighton said...

Looks Beautiful ! I have never tasted figs before. But this looks Interesting & toothsome. Thanks for the Share.

showfoodchef said...

Oh, I love figs SO much and miss having a tree next door (was at my Grandmother's.) I make a mean Fig & Fennel jam every year. This salad combo of flavors are wonderful!

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