Valley Fig Growers

Citrus Salad with Figs

Savory salads made with oranges and grapefruits are an impressive way to showcase colorful winter fruit—but only if you can work with the grapefruits’ bitterness and prevent the fruit’s ample juice from drowning the other components. We started by treating the fruit with salt to counter its bitter notes (a technique we’ve used in the past with coffee and eggplant), but the salt pulled even more juice out of the fruit and onto our platter. Draining the seasoned fruit enabled us to preemptively remove the excess juice, some of which we used in the dressing for the salad greens. Salted nuts added richness that contrasted nicely with the fruit and the assertively flavored greens, and dried fruit added texture and sweetness to this citrus salad with figs. You may substitute tangelos or Cara Caras for the navel oranges. Valencia or blood oranges can also be used, but because they are smaller, increase the number of these fruits to four. We prefer golden figs in salad recipes like this one, though Black Mission can be substituted.

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 2 red grapefruits
  • 3 navel oranges
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped coarse
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 4 ounces (4 cups) watercress, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs, stemmed and cut into ¼-inch pieces

Directions

  1. Cut away peel and pith from grapefruits and oranges. Cut each fruit in half lengthwise, then slice crosswise into ¼-inch- thick pieces. Transfer fruit to bowl and toss with sugar and ½ teaspoon salt. Set aside for 15 minutes.
  2. Melt butter in 8-inch skillet over medium heat. Add pecans and ½ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned and fragrant, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer pecans to paper towel–lined plate and set aside.
  3. Drain fruit in colander set over bowl, reserving 2 tablespoons juices. Transfer fruit to platter, arrange in even layer, and drizzle with oil. Whisk shallot, mustard, and reserved juices together in medium bowl. Add watercress, ½ cup figs, and ¼ cup pecans and toss to combine.
  4. Arrange watercress mixture over fruit, leaving 1-inch border around edges. Sprinkle with remaining ½ cup figs and remaining ¼ cup pecans. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Recipe and photo by Cook’s Country