Valley Fig Growers

Arugula, Escarole, and California Fig Salad with Warm Port Dressing


This salad makes an excellent first course before beef.



Serves 6 as a first course.


  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped coarse
  • 1⁄3 cup port
  • 4 ounces Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs (6 large or 12 small), stems removed
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 medium shallots, minced (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large bunches arugula, washed, dried, stems trimmed, and leaves torn into bite-size pieces (about 3 cups lightly packed)
  • 1 small head escarole, washed, dried, and torn into bite-size pieces (about 6 cups lightly packed)
  • 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)


  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325° degrees. Spread the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until they are fragrant and lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, bring the port and figs to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the figs are soft but not mushy, about 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the figs to a clean plate, reserving the port in the saucepan. When the figs are cool enough to handle, cut them into quarters and set aside.
  3. Whisk the vinegar, shallots, salt, pepper, and oil into the reserved port. Return the quartered figs to the saucepan and reheat over medium, stirring occasionally, until warm but not steaming, about 1 1⁄2 minutes.
  4. Toss the arugula and escarole with the warm dressing in a large bowl. Arrange the greens on individual plates and sprinkle with the blue cheese and walnuts. Serve immediately.

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This recipe is reprinted with permission of Cook's Illustrated.
Recipe source: America’s Test Kitchen. Valley Fig is a proud sponsor of the America’s Test Kitchen.

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Nutrition Information

amount per serving

Calories 375
% Calories from Fat 66%
Fat 28g
Cholesterol 14mg
Protein 9g
Carbohydrates 22g
Fiber 6g
Iron 2mg
Sodium 382mg
Calcium 206mg