Monday, October 27, 2014

[Gluten-Free] Roasted Apple, Fig, and Arugula Salad

There are two different types of people in this world: those who set kitchen timers and those who don't. I come from a long line of non-timers. My grandmother is as famous for her perfectly cooked white rice as she is for never relying on a "beep" to take something out of the oven. And my mom, oh forget it! She refuses to use a timer as if doing so would obviously mean she's lost control in her own kitchen. My sister Erica, the same way. I cringe every time I see them put something in the oven and just walk away. I always set a timer. So obviously, I think they're nuts.

That being said, I can count on one hand the number of times I've ever seen them burn something. Maybe there is a method to the madness. Of course, there's always that panic moment when they say "Oh the cookies!" and race to the oven. But every time, never-fail, they're perfectly cooked.

The other day, I was making my Roasted Apple, Fig, and Arugula Salad for dinner. I was talking to Patrick when I heard my good friend the timer telling me it was time to pull the fruit out of the oven. I opened the oven door and thought they could use a couple more minutes. So I closed the oven and immediately added four minutes to the timer on the stove. Patrick poured two glasses of wine while we chatted about the day. I told him how excited I was for him to taste the salad because I had made a few tweaks to the recipe since the last time he tried it - less lemon zest, a little more Gorgonzola, and the fruit was...
THE FRUIT! Oh nooo! 

I turned to the stove and saw "3:43." I had set the timer for four hours not four minutes! I raced to the stove, grab the oven mitts, and pulled the baking sheet out! I braced myself for the worst...disintegrated black pieces that barely resembled fruit.

To my surprise, they weren't black, they weren't burned... they were perfect. The figs were wonderfully caramelized and the apples were soft and sweet. It was the last tweak this salad needed! After that night, I knew it was ready for it's close-up. So here's my Roasted Fig, Apple and Arugula Salad. A delicious salad that gave me a whole new meaning to the phrase, "Timing is everything."

[Gluten-Free] Roasted Apple, Fig, and Arugula Salad
I love fresh figs! My husband Patrick usually only likes the dried ones. But when I roasted them with sweet apples and tossed them with blue cheese, arugula, and walnuts... he couldn't get enough! Try it as a side salad or top it with my Go-To Oven Roasted Chicken Breasts for a hearty and healthy meal.

Makes 4 servings

1 medium Honeycrisp or Gala apple, 
       cored and cut into ¼-inch slices
5 fresh Brown Turkey or Black Mission figs, 
       thinly sliced
¼ cup whole raw walnuts
1 (5-ounce) package of baby arugula leaves
2 green onions, thinly sliced
¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro*
1 teaspoon lemon zest (1 small lemons)
2 ounces Gorgonzola, chopped
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place apple and fig slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the figs are slightly caramelized and the apples are soft. Set aside.

Meanwhile, add walnuts to a large sauté pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until toasted. Be sure to stir frequently to prevent burning. Let cool and then coarsely chop them.

In a large bowl, toss together the walnuts, arugula, green onions, cilantro, lemon zest, and cheese. Right before serving, add the extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss together. Pour onto a serving platter and top with the roasted apple and fig slices.

*I added cilantro to this salad because Patrick loves it! But if you are not a cilantro fan, Italian parsley works great too.

recipe courtesy:

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