Unfortunately summer is drawing to a close, and the number of evenings to have dinner on the patio are limited. So we took advantage of the beautiful evening and did just that.
I was looking at the last of the fresh figs, a piece of Cambazola cheese, and some baby heirloom tomatoes.
I added some chives from the herb garden, not much longer and they'll be dying down for the winter.
Finely chop the chives, and add the zest of half a lemon, ground black pepper, salt and a heaped teaspoon of Basil Pesto.
A couple of tablespoons of olive oil to bind everything together, and the chicken marinade is ready.
Rub the marinade over the chicken, and leave for 30 minutes.
This gives you time to get all the salad ingredients ready to go.
Lightly toast some chopped pecans, in the oven, or in a pan on the stovetop.
Slice the Cambozola, quarter the figs and halve the tomatoes.
Mixed greens in a large bowl, ready for the dressing.
I made a basic vinaigrette using balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Heat the grill, and cook the chicken.
When it is cooked through, let it rest for 5 minutes while you assemble and plate the salad.
Toss the mixed greens and tomatoes with the vinaigrette and portion onto the plates. Add the figs, some avocado slices, the toasted pecans and finally the sliced Cambozola. Slice the chicken and add to the plates.
Together with a nice bottle of Pinot Gris, some excellent company and a spectacular sunset, what more could I ask for near the end of summer?
- Figs pair well with fennel, lightly crush seeds for the marinade, or use chopped fresh fennel greens. Add thinly sliced fennel bulb to the salad, or grill it alongside the chicken.
- Use peaches instead of figs, another summer fruit that is almost finished for the season.
- Goat cheese would be a nice substitute for the Cambozola. If you are using peaches, halve and pit them and stuff the centre with the cheese, then bake until the cheese melts and the peach is warmed through.
- I used the pesto in the marinade as it was in the fridge. A good substitute would be minced garlic and chopped fresh basil.
- No heirloom tomatoes? This was a novelty purchase...I love the colours, but usually just have grape tomatoes. Larger tomatoes would work well too, just cut them up.
- Pinenuts or even hazelnuts can be used instead of pecans. Figs and hazelnuts are a good pairing.
- I bought a Mission Fig infused balsamic vinegar at a farmer's market, which I used for the vinaigrette. It really emphasized the fresh figs; a plain dark balsamic vinegar will be just as tasty.
- This was a filling salad, but if you want to add fresh bread, go ahead...