i had a different recipe planned today. something filled with whiskey and vanilla, but that fell over in a pile of cracked cooked sugar and me, covered in cornstarch, in the middle of my tiny kitchen. anna found pieces of the half-pulled sugar later, dried to a hard crack stage and looking like weird, twisted remnants of chihuly rejects.
instead, this is a reinterpretation of today's salad from my garde manger/salad bar station. we had rows and rows of tiger figs. delicate and sweet. i forget about figs when i shop. they are in my peripheral vocabulary of food. instead, i grab the staples - cheddar and apples, cucumbers and scallions. i like to scoop up chunks of blue cheese with mine, dip them in malty, dark buckwheat honey.
figs have always fascinated me as a link between the then and the now, the modern and the ancient. they came from dusty plains and steppes in the middle east and near asia. figs are mentioned in the bible, the torah, the qu'ran. the fig is to the buddha what the apple was to sir isaac newton.
since the fig is so sweet and soft, pair it with the arugula for a bitter edge and with the beans for something with crunch and bite, with honey for nuttiness, with balsamic for acid.
scoop up the remaining balsamic in your bowl with the last few figs. or your tongue. i won't tell.
1 pint figs, quartered
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 lb. green beans, trimmed
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
2 tbsp. honey
bring a medium pot of salted water to boil. add green beans to blanch by cooking for 2-3 minutes, until tender with a retained crunch, then remove from heat and rinse beans under cold water. combine arugula, beans, and figs in a large bowl.
whisk together vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper, and honey, adjusting to taste. toss salad to coat.
top with feta crumbles.