After all of those cupcakes, and in preparation for baking a million cakes for class, I think it is about time to post something green. While I was working at the Fish Market and Cafe over the summer grilling up a store I noticed a recipe in one of the books we had laying around there for a grilled fig salad, and it got my attention. For months I have been meaning to try something out, but as figs aren't in season, I decided it was time for a little kitchen improvisation.
Spinach & Date Salad with a Balsamic Fig Reduction
This is so easy and so so so tasty. The balsamic and fig reduction makes for a thick, robust and complex dressing for any salad, I like to add it still warm onto the leaves. Step One: Find yourself some balsamic vinegar. It doesn't have to be anything spectacular, but it is better on the sweeter-side of the vinegar spectrum, mine here is from Costco.
Add as much as you desire into a small saucepan, and turn it on over a medium high heat, adding a pinch of pepper. Step two: I use fig spread, this one is from a gourmet import store at Pikes Place Market, but if you cant find fig spread you can always use dried figs. Just pour some boiling water over them, let them sit for about 20 minutes, then stick them in the fridge overnight and puree them in the morning.
Step three: add some into your vinegar, stirring until it melts down. Depending on how you like your dressings you will want to add more or less, but I use about a tablespoon per 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar.
Then you will want to just leave it alone and let it reduce by about half, you don't need to stand over it or anything, go check your email or call your mother and come back in about 10-15 minutes.
Then when it is nice and thick, pour it over your greens. I like to add chopped dates and a few walnuts for crunch but this sauce goes just as well on pork chops or grilled rosemary chicken. Yum!