This recipe, created by Sarma Melngailis of New York's Pure Food and Wine, is a natural aphrodisiac blend of baby arugula, mâche, and shaved fennel topped with a sensuous vanilla-bean vinaigrette and cinnamon figs, pistachios, mint, and parsley. If baby arugula or mâche is unavailable, try butter lettuce or any other local tender and mild baby greens as a good substitute.
The recipe yields more vinaigrette than you need heresave the remainder to use on other light greens or salad. Banyuls vinegar from France is golden in color with a distinct flavor that is mellower than other red wine vinegars. Use another high-quality red or white wine vinegar if Banyuls is unavailable.
1/2 cup Banyuls vinegar
11/2 teaspoons agave nectar
2 teaspoons sea salt
Seeds scraped from 3/4 vanilla bean
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup almond oil or other high-quality nut oil
4 ripe black mission figs
1 tablespoon agave nectar
Pinch of cinnamon
Fine sea salt
1/4 cup coarsely chopped pistachios
1 teaspoon nut oil
2 cups baby arugula
2 cups mâche
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh mint
1 very small handful fresh parsley leaves
1. To make the vinaigrette, put the vinegar, agave nectar, salt, and vanilla seeds in a blender and process until completely smooth. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil and almond oil. With the blender running, slowly pour the oils into the dressing and continue to blend until emulsified.
2. Next, cut the figs into quarters and place in a small bowl. Add the agave nectar, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt, and toss very gently.
3. Toss the pistachios in another small bowl with the nut oil and a pinch of salt.
4. Place the greens, mint, parsley, and pistachios with their oil into a mixing bowl and add enough of the vinaigrette to coat the leaves. Toss very gently. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
5. To serve, divide the greens and pistachios between two plates and top with the figs.
Sarma Melngailis is the proprietor and cofounder of New York's Pure Food and Wine restaurant. She's the author of Raw Food/Real World (Harper Collins, 2005) and Living Raw Food: Get the Glow with More Recipes from Pure Food and Wine (Harper Collins, 2009). Melngailis also runs the online eco-haven One Lucky Duck. This recipe was originally published in Eco-Sex.
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