- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup chopped fresh figs, plus 4 figs quartered
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 cupvegetable oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 slices of Brioche Bread, (sliced 1/2-inch thick)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 8 cups Arugula, washed and picked
- 4 ounces Smithfield ham, julienned and fried until crispy
- 6 ounces crumbled Maytag blue cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a saute pan, brown the butter with 3/4 cup of the chopped figs and the sugar. Season the mixture with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and pour into a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Puree the mixture for 1 minute. Add the vinegar and process for 30 seconds. While the machine is running, slowly add the vegetable oil until the dressing is emulsified. Season the dressing with salt and pepper. Fold in the reserved chopped figs. Set aside. *See note.
Remove the crust from the brioche and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. In a medium mixing bowl, toss the croutons with the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place on baking sheet and bake until golden, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove, cool and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, toss the greens with desired amount of the dressing.
Mound the greens in the center of each plate. Arrange the quartered figs, ham and croutons around the greens. Crumble the cheese on top of the greens. Garnish the salad with cracked pepper around the rim of the plate.
Note: if desired, the fig dressing can be served warm. When ready to serve the salad, gently reaheat in a small sauce pan, whisking as necessary, and drizzle immediately.