This week.  I practiced being on summer vacation.

I walked to Bed, Bath, and Beyond. On a weekday.  And spent far too much money on things that have nothing to do with summer.  Ramekins.  A rolling pin.  Glassware.

And far too little money on things that have everything to do with summer.  Popsicle makers.  Beach chairs.  A Mercedes convertible with the top down and Top 40 music blasting from the state-of-the-art speakers.

I ate cherries.  Many of them.  Possibly an entire bag.  By myself.  I thought about baking with them.  But it’s summer, remember.  And in the summer you don’t turn on the oven.  (Ha.  This coming from the girl who just bought a butternut squash from Whole Foods.  Because she felt like it.  My oven will be on.  Aplenty.  Boy am I glad that the AC/electricity bill is already accounted for in my rent.)

I worked on my beach hair.  You know.  That wind blown kind-of-wavy-kind-of-messy look.  Part “I just had the best sex of my life”. Part “I just walked on the beach”.  Part “What, I just woke up looking this good”.

And, what everyone knows and no one wants to admit.  Part “I’m too lazy to do anything with my now lower back length hair other than shake it under the blow dryer for a few minutes”.

Well.  At least the last two are true.

I refused to think about school.  At all.  Whatsoever.  Because who thinks about school during summer vacation?  Never mind the fact that I have a test tomorrow on two weeks worth of material.  Practicing for summer vacation.  Much more critical.

And. Of course. I ate this salad.  Because during the summer. People eat things like salad.

(Some of us also eat things like butternut squash.  But for now. I’ll conform.)

It was not supposed to be a salad. It was supposed to be an appetizer. Made with dates instead of figs.  And minus the arugula, goat cheese, and dried cranberries that I threw in for posterity.  But when you’re cooking for one. Making appetizers just doesn’t make that much sense.  And making salads makes a lot more sense.  Not that I care very much about sense.  But you know.  I have to be rational some of the time.

Actually this salad was incredibly delicious.  Sweet dried figs (Trader Joe’s was out of dates.  For which I’m glad.  Very glad.  Because I really like dried figs.).  Salty pancetta.  Tangy honey goat cheese.  Bitter arugula.  My mouth was happy.  Very happy.  And so will yours be.  When you make this.  What are you waiting for?  Summer’s almost here.  You’d better start practicing.

Roasted Figs, Pancetta, Almonds and Chile
serves 4, adapted from Symon’s Live To Cook

2 cups dried figs
3 oz pancetta, finely diced
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 350.

2. Put the figs on a baking sheet and roast about 5 minutes or until heated through.  Turn off the oven but leave the figs inside.

3. In a pan, cook the pancetta until it is almost crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the almonds and continue cooking until they brown, about 2 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute.  Add the red pepper flakes and broth and simmer, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in teh butter, stirring until butter is melted.  Add in the lemon juice and the parsley.

4. Add the figs to the pan and swirl and toss them in the sauce.

If you just want to make the appetizer, then stop here.  But if you want to make the salad, then toss with arugula, some goat cheese, and dried cranberries.

This is my submission to Deb’s Souper Sundays and will also be featured on Ashlee’s Symon Sundays round-up!

Also, the Regional Recipes: Vietnam round-up is posted!  So be sure to check it out and to also go see where our next country is going to be!

You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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75 Responses to Arugula Salad with Roasted Figs, Pancetta, Almonds, and Chile – Symon Sundays

  1. Katerina says:

    Summer vacations. I can’t wait for them. I am just counting the days. this salad looks very fresh and cool.

  2. Simply Life says:

    wow, what a great looking salad!

  3. Pam says:

    Oh, this is great with the pancetta and figs, love it! Love the gorgeous colors too! I could spend hours in BBB and just visited it yesterday. Just had to have some new Margarita glasses for the summer! 😉

  4. Beautiful salad. Wonderful flavor profile. Love the peppery arugula.


  5. Little Inbox says:

    This salad contains almost all colors. Healthy food!

  6. Kerstin says:

    Eating bags of cherries reminds me of summer too! I love how you twisted this recipe and made into such a lovely salad – it definitely looks like something you’d get at a nice restaurant.

  7. Raina says:

    Wow! Amazing looking salad..healthy and declicious. Those are beautiful figs! Glad you enjoyed your mock summer I hope you are getting some time off this summer:)

  8. Ameena says:

    Summer vacations for me are such a thing of the past. I miss them. The most exciting thing I’ll do this summer is probably hit Bed Bath and Beyond. And maybe make this delicious salad. I love figs!

    Good luck on your test!

  9. I love dried figs! I even keep a bag in my car if I’m on a road trip. This salad sounds so delicious and looks beautiful. I have some arugula growing in my garden that will be ear-marked for this!

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  11. Kelsey says:

    im needing a salad badly!! i love how you tossed in dried fruit with nuts, obv. i appreciate a good crunch and chew in my salad greens!! <3

    omg i will not allow myself to bring money with me when i go to bedding and bath stores for that same reason.. i have to give myself time out like a 4 year old… otherwise i have no self control lol

  12. Ah the wonderful ingredients. Roasted figs are something I would love to try!

  13. knk says:

    i never ever eat this before
    have to try this , i feel to taste new dishes
    nice recipe

  14. Non-conformist that I am, I bake in the summer anyway. It could be that the average temps in my neck of the woods are in the high 70’s. I recently fell in-love with figs, so I think it’s a brilliant choice you made. Wow, what different flavor layers. Love it!

  15. Mary says:

    The salad sounds wonderful. I can practically taste the sweetness of the figs playing off the bitter bite of arugula. This has the makings of paradise :-). Have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  16. Polwig says:

    Salad looks amazing. Do not bake with cherries unless they are sour cherries their taste totally disappears. I know we went cherry picking last week and brought home about 10lbs.

  17. Very healthy and a lovely salad…

  18. Laurie says:

    Oh Joanne.. I think I would need a triple portion of this salad.. yumm!!!!

  19. sophia says:

    I didn’t realize you could roast dried figs. That is fabulous. Now I’m gonna have a new fetish. Thanks, Joanne! 😉

  20. PJ says:

    yes, practicing for summer vacation is sure very critical! oh, how i miss the summer vacations.. why can’t you continue to have them even at workplaces 🙁 salad looks delicious. i should try the roasted figs soon.

  21. Ashlee says:

    i made mine salad style, too! loved this dish, it was fantastic!

  22. Faith says:

    Summers off are the one thing I miss about school! (I should have been a teacher, lol!) This salad looks like the perfect way to celebrate the start of summer — the combo of flavors in there is amazing!

  23. This power-packed salad has a beautiful summer look! Must be incredibly delicious! 😉

  24. Love all the goodness in this salad. I’ve never thought of roasting a dried fruit, let alone a fig, but I love the sound of the sticky sauce that is created.

  25. Chris says:

    There you go, not following directions again. While that is fun in the kitchen, I hope you don’t do that as a plastic surgeon years from now, lol.

    Patient waking groggily in post op, “But doc, I only wanted calf implants!”

    Dr. Joanne, “I know, I know, but I got in there and I had some extra butt implants too and…..had you SEEN your ass in jeans before now? Flat city, dude.”

  26. katerina says:

    I love the idea of roasted figs! I am going to try this in my next salad.

  27. Chef Aimee says:

    My grandparents had a fig tree in their yard in Astoria and we had figs for years and years – sadly, its gone, but we have a fig tree here that is a baby and will hopefully grow! I love figs and love this recipe – thanks for sharing!

  28. Lea Ann says:

    That salad looks incredibly delicious. Beautiful photos. Good luck on your test!

  29. Sophie says:

    Hello Joanne!!

    A stunning spring salad!! Very tasty & versatile!

    MMMMMMMM,…fabulous pictures too!

  30. Stella says:

    Nice submission, Joanne. I love the dry, black figs too. They are so nice anytime but especially in the summer-you’re right. Hey, do you ever put them in the fridge and then eat them cold? So good…

  31. theUngourmet says:

    It is so far from summer over here it’s not even funny. I swear if it rains too many more days in a row I’ll have to be admitted…to a plane headed for anywhere sunny! ;D

    I love it when an appetizer turns into a delicious salad!

  32. Great salad. I clipped it and can’t wait to try it

  33. Sook says:

    I just went and got some arugula at the grocery store. This salad looks scrumptious. I want some!

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  35. Koek! says:

    I’d like to see that beach hair 🙂
    Gorgeous salad. Gorgeous blog!

  36. Kristin says:

    I am jealous. I cannot find figs anywhere, the closest I come to a fig is a fig newton. This salad looks really good though. Hopefully soon I come across a grocery store that carries them.

  37. Luigi says:

    Have said it before, and will say it again, if we ever come to NY on vacation, I want a dinner invite. LOL!

  38. This looks so refreshing! Enjoy your Summer vacation!

  39. I have never used figs on salads and yet it looks so good! Love it with the pancetta too; the sweet and salty. Yum.

  40. Lori says:

    This sounds so good. I love getting creative with salads. I seem to only be able to enjoy them if they have some variety of interesting toppings.

    Your bn squash comment was great. One of my favorite things about Brazil was that the squash/pumpkin etc didn’t have the seasonal association that it does in the States. It was available year round and I ate it just about every week.

  41. Julie says:

    girl you get your summer vaca on. and do it up big. and listen if you do happen to purchase this mercedes i think it should be a convertible and i think you should drive out to strong island with the top down and pick me up.

    thats a way you can work on your beach hair. or convertible top down hair haha

  42. Kim says:

    Summer vacation is almost here for me too, except it means lots of kids, lots of screaming, and lots of messes. At least I get to sleep in, right?

    This salad looks fantastic and while I love dates, the figs sound like a fantastic substitute. I love all the textures in this salad.

    Off to check out the regional recipes roundup. Can’t wait to see what the next country is.

  43. Beth says:

    I’m obsessed with your description of beach hair. Hilarious. And I’ve been working that look for a solid 2 months now – why not? Everyone loves the post-sex/just walked on the beach/just woke up look! Salad looks delish.

  44. Cristie says:

    I can’t believe there is a lazy bone in your body! The salad looks and sounds wonderful. Enjoy all of the summer you can get, including the cherries, and all…

  45. I love the combo of warm, sweet dried fruit and cool, bitter greens. It sounds amazing – espeically with some yummy pancetta and crunchy nuts. Yum!!

  46. Amy says:

    I’m melting over here in 90 degrees…BUT I am not complaining. It sure beats snow and ice. Bring on summer! And this salad. I love figs (fresh and dried.) And pancetta? Well, of course.

    I hope summer vacation for you doesn’t mean you’re going to be posting 2x a day – I cannot keep up, Joanne!!!

  47. Pam says:

    It’s still raining here in Portland – I can’t wait for the summer sun.

    The salad is an amazing combination of flavors and textures… nicely done!!

  48. elra says:

    Love the combination that goes into this salad. I like them all, and also lucky that I actually grow mizuna (it’s like arugula, but milder and more nutty, without that peppery taste you get from arugula) in my garden.

  49. sra says:

    That’s a riot of colour!

    As for the rest of the post, I know what you mean – today was a deadline and for an hour I kept digging up some family tree kinda stuff before I got into work mode!

  50. eleni says:

    I would hold on the pancetta and the chicken broth (I would use vegetarian) and keep all the rest… lovely, nutritional, excellent for the body!!!

  51. You evil woman! These are all my favs and in one beautiful salad that has me drooling!

  52. i have been practicing for summer too and should not be just yet……love your salad especially the addition of the figs! have a great day joanne 🙂

  53. Ty'sMommy says:

    I am so jealous. I we still haven’t hit the idea of summer vacation here yet and I am not finding enough produce to make me happy yet. The figs look fabulous. I know they are dried, but they make me mad that I never managed to get my fig tree this year. 🙁

  54. girlichef says:

    Oh, it’s gorgeous…it would totally make my mouth happy =)

  55. Suman Singh says:

    beautiful looking salad…de-lish!

  56. Astra Libris says:

    Happy Almost Summer! Practicing for summer sounds like a wonderful idea to me! 🙂 Your salad sounds like a wonderful, fabulous, gorgeous idea to me as well… 🙂

  57. Mimi says:

    Um.. I have no idea what your post was about because I got too distracted drooling over that salad. OMG.

  58. I’ve been busier on summer vacation than when I was in school. I must be doing something wrong. Maybe I should of practiced too! Anywhoo – love this salad! All those flavors – delicious!

  59. i too practiced being on summer vacation. by eating tons of almond butter…and reading blogs when i should have been studying. =D final on wednesday. hahha
    i like how you think. plus, Jonesy can totally kick his ass. right? big bro jonesy. you rock.

    psh. if it’s bad it HAS to be good. i’ve eaten my share of food off the ground and cake batter. hahhaahahaha. =D immune system. we stick together like antibodies and antigens. hahaha.

  60. A lovely salad! I like the combination of figs and almonds!

  61. Christina says:

    Nice practice! I envy your ramekins, I still haven’t gotten any.

    I love this salad, and I like that it has figs.

  62. Bridgett says:

    I love your Symon Sundays and this one is incredible! The figs would be my favorite part. I will take one of those convertible Mercedes as well….

  63. Cynthia says:

    That combination sounds amazing! I bet the sweet dates would be such a perfect contrast to the salty bacon. This is definitely a perfect dish in the summer when you don’t want to turn on the oven.

  64. Leslie says:

    Looks amazing!! Perfect for summer!

  65. tigerfish says:

    People eat salad during summer but not every salad can look as good as yours :d

  66. Jen says:

    I saw you on 1st ave and like 71st street, you were in a zone! I work around there now. so far from everything! lol I will be back to my regular blogging soon, we just moved so lots going on as usual. =)

  67. Marisa says:

    This salad combines everything that is awesome about summer in one dish! And, I had to chuckle at you scarfing down the berries. I did the same the other day. Except mine was dried goji berries. And my cat got in on the action. And I fear I now have a feline goji berry addiction on my hands…

  68. msmeanie says:

    Yes, bring on the summer vacation. I don’t feel like doing anything either, other than making food eating food and looking at pictures of food. This salad looks awesome by the way. Love love love all the components (except panchetta, never had it).

  69. Every time I get around to reading a post, you already have a new one up. Ridiculous.

    This salad looks so delicious! Goat cheese is an automatic win. With figs, even better. Throw some glorified bacon on there and I’m wishing the screen had that function where I reach in and pull out the salad as it appears on the screen. I don’t even care if you’ve already had a few bites.

    Btw, I realize I should email you this but I’m lazy. Do you know of any sublets for July? I’ve obviously forgotten to find a place to LIVE while I’m at Cornell next month..


  70. Lori says:

    This salad looks amazing. So many delicious ingredients.

  71. Wow…I would love to be having this for dinner tonight:)

  72. Debinhawaii says:

    Just catching up with my visiting and realized I never commented on your delicious salad and thanked you for sending it to Super Sundays. Love anything with figs and the combination of flavors is wonderful. 😉

  73. Eliana says:

    What an amazing looking salad. It looks like it packs a great flavor punch.

  74. This salad looks most amazing! I was just thinking this morning that I want to eat more meal salads like this. I always want to cook autumn type meals regardless of the time of year haha. Roasted root vegetables are so irresistible! Hope all your exams went well!

  75. Beautiful salad! Has my name all over it!!

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