I was browsing through my digital food library and realized that this summer, thanks to the pandemic is one of the first summers in a long time that I have been in NYC. Usually, a good part of my summers are spent in India. And I realized how HOT NYC gets!!! With high humidity levels, it’s fairly oppressive. And so, while cooking has always been an important way to escape/cope for me, I have consciously tried to minimize it in July/August especially. At the same time, the produce and the summer fruits have been such a treat!! I can’t walk away from those tempting peaches, dreamy apricots, juicy figs, tart-sweet mangoes, succulent tomatoes, rainbow carrots….the list goes on and on. How does one not cook with these natural bounties? Well, I found a way: enjoy them in minimally cooked forms or make no-cook, no-recipe salad meals! Turns out that this was the best decision ever! So I made several salads which stood in as the main course with occasional warm sides of crunchy bread or crostinis. Filling and fun and oh! beautiful!! And the best part? Dinner ready in 15 minutes!
Here is one such sample: Figs, Goat Cheese, a plump Bell Pepper, Beet chips and some Greens! A simple vinaigrette and you are done! Trust me on this one, it gets an A+ for visual appeal and A+ for taste! Don’t believe me? Cook and see I say!
FIGS & GOAT CHEESE SALAD
- 8 Fresh Figs
- 1/2 Orange bell pepper
- 4 oz Goat Cheese
- 1 cup Mixed Greens
- 1 fistful Readymade Beet Chips
- 2 tbsp Freshly squeezed Lemon juice
- 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 tsp Freshly ground Black Pepper
- Salt to taste
Wash and cut each fig length-wise into 3 slices with a sharp serrated knife. Keep aside.
Deseed and cut half an orange bell pepper into 1" squares (Lay the pepper half flat, cut off the ends and take out the veins with a sharp knife.
Prepare the dressing: in a small jar, add 2 tbsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice+ 2 tbsp of EVOO + 1 tsp of freshly ground black pepper + salt to taste. Shake well.
Assembling the salad:
* Take a platter and lay out a cup of mixed greens in a layer to make a comfy bed for the figs 🙂
* Arrange the figs in a circular pattern on the greens.
* Loosely spread the bell peppers around.
* Break up 4 oz (or more!!:)) of goat cheese all over.
* Sprinkle a handful of beet chips for crunch.
* Shake the dressing and with a spoon lightly drizzle on the salad.
* Pause, admire, debate whether to eat it and then attack!!
* Congratulate yourself on eating a healthy, yummy, light dinner for a change! 🙂