A beautiful bitter greens salad with roasted bread cheese, from Chef Kristine Subido, formerly of Pecking Order Restaurant of Chicago.
Yield: 6 servings.
6 thin slices fruit and nut baguette, drizzled with olive oil and salt
2 cups dried black mission figs, quartered
3 cups red wine
1 oz. shallots, chopped
¼ cup fig vincotto vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1 cup canola oil-olive oil blend
12 oz. bread cheese or other juustoleipa cheese
2 ripe Anjou pears, seeded and julienned
8 oz. baby arugula or mixed salad greens
Heat oven to 325°F. Make fruit and nut toast croutons by slicing the bread, drizzling it with olive oil and sprinkling it with salt. Bake until toasted, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
Combine figs and wine in a small sauce pot and simmer until figs are soft, about 15 minutes. Turn heat off and reserve figs in wine. Chill.
Combine shallots and vinegar in a bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil-canola oil blend until emulsified. Season to taste.
Heat oven or broiler to 375°F. Cut bread cheese into 3 equal pieces. Place the cheese on a cookie sheet and bake until soft, about 5 minutes.
Drain figs, reserving the wine. Combine pears, figs and arugula. Toss with dressing; season to taste. Divide among 6 salad plates. Place a crouton on each salad. Top each with ½ slice of warm cheese. Season with pepper and drizzle reserved red wine over salad. Serve immediately.