Combine the salty, creamy goodness of whipped goat cheese with the sticky sweet, grilled figs and you have yourself a salad you can’t stop eating!
Why You’ll Love This Salad
As if fresh figs aren’t delicious enough, this recipe is going to knock your socks off. Grilled figs are amazing. Heat softens the fruit and brings out its inherent flavours. roasting them does the same thing just like our Balsamic Roasted Figs and Halloumi Salad.
To further heighten the delicate figs, grill it in pomegranate molasses to give you that sticky goodness and then serve it up with a whipped goat cheese dressing to counteract the sweetness with saltness.
What you’ll find in between all that is a little tartness from the pomegranate molasses and fresh pomegranate arils, as well as some flutters of baby leaves from the micro herbs.
While all this sounds like so much work, it’s not. It’s easy to put together as we’re using ingredients that speak well for themselves. You’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll be able to create such a great looking side dish.
Different Types of Figs
There are literally hundreds of different types of figs, but only a few are commercialised and readily available to us consumers. Here are just some of the more popular varieties.
Adriatic: The Adriatic fig has a light green to slightly yellowish coloured skin. Sometimes they are so light in colour that they are often referred to as the “white fig”.
Some varieties have a striped colour of green and white which is why you may have also heard it being called the “candy-striped fig.”
On the inside, its flesh can vary from a pale pink to a bright red, and they are super sweet, even when compared to the other varieties.
Kadota: This seedless fig has light green skin and pale to white coloured flesh. The kadota is the most popular green-skinned fig on the market. This variety is not as sweet as its counterparts.
They are great for eating as they are, or you can even sprinkle a bit of salt to draw out its sweetness.
It’s not as uncommon as you think, with many Asian countries eating their fruit in contrasting flavours of sweet and salty or salty and tart.
Brown Turkey: From here, we move on to the brown skinned figs. This extremely popular Brown Turkey fig is pear-shaped, and its skin ranges from a brown of varying shades to a copper colour.
Their flesh is of a paler colour compared to the other figs and it is also not as sweet as the more common varieties. This makes them quite popular as not everyone likes overly sweet fruit, so it is a welcome respite for some.
Black Mission: The Black Mission fig is believed to have originated off the coast of Spain and became the main fig to be consumed by the Catholic missions, hence its name. It is also known as the Beers Black Fig or the Franciscan Fig.
This is the most common of all figs with the deep purple to almost black skin with bright pink flesh. The bright coloured flesh against the dark skin makes for an impressive looking fruit when it’s cut in half or wedges.
Like the Adriatic figs, they are also incredibly sweet. So much so that sometimes you can see a droplet of syrup oozing out from the fruit.
If you love figs but are stuck for ideas, here are some pairing notes for what goes well with figs.
Flavour/Texture: This grilled fig salad is sweet and salty. Sweet from the natural goodness of the figs but even more so when grilled with pomegranate molasses. Salty from the goat cheese that is whipped through with Greek yoghurt.
The whipped goat cheese is ultra-creamy, and when used to bind the grilled figs, delicate micro herbs and the crunch of the pomegranate arils, it is a mouthful with a lot going on yet all with very familiar flavours.
Ease: Grilling figs is an easy process as you’re only placing them face down for 3 minutes and then turning them over for another 2. All you have to do is ensure they don’t burn, so low to medium heat is enough.
Everything else is just blitzing and then assembling. This is quite an easy salad to put together and yet looks so appetising!
Time: 25 minutes is all you need. The grilling of the figs will take no more than 10 minutes, while everything else doesn’t take too much effort to prepare.
Ingredients you will need to make grilled fig and whipped goat cheese salad:
Figs: Ensure you select ready to eat figs that are soft to touch and free of wrinkles and bruises. Purchase them as individual fruit rather than in a pack so that you can inspect the fruit thoroughly.
Also, make sure you’re buying them no more than 2 days before you’re making this salad. They are too perishable to be left lying around for days. Especially if you’re going to eat them fresh such as this Honeyed Fig Salad in Mango Puree.
Olive oil: Use good olive oil for the cooking process and you can use extra virgin olive oil for the whipped goat cheese dressing if that is your preference.
Pomegranate molasses: If you have never tried pomegranate molasses, this is going to change your life! Grilled figs with pomegranate molasses will give you sweet, tart and sticky as the heat will help the caramelisation process on the grill pan. So good!
Micro herbs: Any micro herb will work for this salad. What we want is the delicate leafy component to complement the figs well. If you can, get them fresh in their pots. They last for a few days longer than the ones that have already been picked.
Pomegranate: We only need half, although you can use all of them if they are quite small. If you’re lazy, you can also get the pomegranate that is already de-seeded. Just peel back the cover, and voila!
Goat cheese: Grilled figs and goat cheese is a popular combination. Get good quality soft and creamy goat cheese. As it is the main feature of the dressing and what ultimately ties all the components together, you want to get a good brand.
Greek yoghurt: Unflavoured, unsweetened Greek yoghurt is what you want. Adds to the creaminess of the salad dressing.
Variations and Substitutions
No grill pan: If you don’t have a grill pan, you can just use a normal fry pan. What you’re after is the caramelisation of the pomegranate molasses on the figs and to also cook the figs a little.
Pomegranate molasses substitute: You can use balsamic glaze if you don’t have pomegranate molasses. You’ll still get the sweetness required, while the consistency of the glaze will give the figs that nice sticky finish.
Micro herb substitute: You can use micro salad, alfalfa, or snow peas sprouts if you can’t get micro herbs. What we’re after are the delicate leaves for this recipe.
Goat cheese substitute: You can substitute goat cheese with cream cheese or mascarpone cheese. Add ¼ of additional salt to the salad dressing.
Low fat dairy: You can use low fat dairy products if you prefer, but of course, the added level of creaminess will not be as prominent.
Step by step instructions for how to make grilled fig and whipped goat cheese salad:
Cut the stem off the figs and cut the fruit in half lengthwise.
In a small mixing bowl, add the figs, 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses and a pinch of pepper. Gently mix and coat the figs well.
Place a grill pan on the stovetop on low to medium heat. Place the figs face down and grill for 3 minutes. Turn the figs and grill for a further 2 minutes.
Remove and set aside to cool.
Deseed the pomegranate.
Wash and pat dry the micro herbs.
How to Make Whipped Goat Cheese Dressing
In a food processor, add the goat cheese, Greek yoghurt, olive oil, water and pepper.
Blitz until well combined.
How to Assemble the Salad
On a plate or platter, place the whipped goat cheese dressing on the perimeter.
With the last ⅓ tbsp (1 tsp) of olive oil, place droplets of olive oil on the dressing.
Put ¾ of the micro herbs in the centre of the plate.
Add ½ the pomegranate arils on the dressing.
Place the figs on top of the micro herbs.
Sprinkle with the rest of the pomegranate arils and micro herbs.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Great Mains for This Salad
How to serve this delicious grilled fig and whipped goat cheese salad? Try these recommended mains.
Chicken tagine with preserved lemons and olives is a modern tagine recipe that can be made in 30 minutes. For something a little heartier, try this kale and sausage gnocchi bake or for the carnivores, you can’t go past a Tomahawk ribeye steak.
Frequently Asked Questions
The easiest way to de-seed a pomegranate is by using the whacking method.
Cut the pomegranate in half, crossways. Turn one half of the fruit and place on the palm of your hands over a bowl.
Leave your fingers slightly apart for the seeds to fall through to the bowl. With your other hand, use a wooden spoon and whack the back of the pomegranate half. The seeds will fall out in abundance.
Pomegranate molasses is a thick syrup that is made by reducing pomegranate juice and sugar. It is sweet, tart and turns into a very dark brown, almost black liquid.
The term molasses is slightly misleading as it’s not as thick as molasses and yet not quite a syrup mainly used as a sweetener.
Pomegranate molasses is more of a condiment used to accompany and enhance foods, prominent in Middle Eastern cuisine.
Micro herbs are also known as microgreens. The easiest one to grow is radish, and in fact, it is said, try not making it grow! They can be harvested as soon as 5 days after planting.
The next easiest micro herb to grow is broccoli. Although slower than the radish, they are more consistent, and they have lovely rounded clovers like leaves.
The 3rd best micro herb to grow is the cabbage. The Red Acre is by far the most popular because of its gorgeous purple stems. They take about 14 days to grow. Still a very easy growing process!
Complement the ever so sweet grilled figs with delicate micro herbs and crunchy pomegranate arils. The salty, creamy, whipped goat cheese dressing is the glue that binds all the flavours perfectly together. Watch how fast it will all disappear!
Grilled Fig and Whipped Goat Cheese Salad
- 80 g goat cheese
- 6 tbsp Greek yoghurt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp water
- ¼ tsp pepper
Click on the toggle below for conversion to US Cooking Units.
- Cut the stem off the figs and cut the fruit in half lengthwise.
- In a small mixing bowl, add the figs, 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses and a pinch of pepper. Gently mix and coat the figs well.
- Place a grill pan on the stovetop on low to medium heat. Place the figs face down and grill for 3 minutes. Turn the figs and grill for a further 2 minutes.
- Remove and set aside to cool.
- Deseed the pomegranate.
- Wash and pat dry the micro herbs.
- In a food processor, add the goat cheese, Greek yoghurt, olive oil, water and pepper.
- Blitz until well combined.
- On a plate or platter, place the whipped goat cheese dressing on the perimeter.
- With the last ⅓ tbsp (1 tsp) of olive oil, place droplets of olive oil on the dressing.
- Put ¾ of the micro herbs in the centre of the plate.
- Add ½ the pomegranate arils on the dressing.
- Place the figs on top of the micro herbs.
- Sprinkle with the rest of the pomegranate arils and micro herbs.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- If you don’t have a grill pan, you can just use a normal fry pan. What you’re after is the caramelisation of the pomegranate molasses on the figs and to also cook the figs a little.
- You can use balsamic glaze if you don’t have pomegranate molasses.
- You can use micro salad, alfalfa or snow peas sprouts if you can’t get micro herbs.
- You can substitute goat cheese with cream cheese or mascarpone cheese. Add ¼ of additional salt to the salad dressing.
- You can use low fat dairy products if you prefer, but of course, the added level of creaminess will not be as prominent.
*Disclaimer: Nutritional information provided is an estimate only and generated by an online calculator.
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