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Fig, Fennel and Burrata Salad with Sherry Vinaigrette
Fig, Fennel and Burrata Salad with Sherry Vinaigrette

We’ve been waiting for figs to return to the market since their fleeting spring season ended months ago. For help making the most of this short-lived fall crop, we turned to chef Ted Fleury. At his bar, The Alembic, the San Francisco chef uses figs in a salad that just might be the most perfect combination of crisp, crunchy and creamy textures. And it’s beautiful to boot. Serve this light dish on a warm fall evening with a bottle of wine and a loaf of artisanal bread.

Makes 4 first-course servings (plus about 1/2 cup vinaigrette)

Fig, Fennel and Burrata Salad

1 medium fennel bulb--trimmed, cored and fronds reserved

2 lemon cucumbers--peeled, halved and thinly sliced

½ pound ripe figs, trimmed and quartered

½ cup Marcona almonds, toasted and roughly chopped

1 tablespoon thinly sliced chives

1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 ounces fresh burrata cheese, thinly sliced

4 small handfuls arugula


Sherry Vinaigrette

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons plus 1½ teaspoons aged sherry vinegar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Make the salad: Prepare an ice-water bath. Thinly slice the fennel bulb on a mandoline and transfer the slices to the ice-water bath to chill for 30 minutes. Set the fronds aside.

2. Make the vinaigrette: While the fennel is chilling, in a small bowl or glass measuring cup, whisk the olive oil with the vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then set aside.

3. When the fennel is nearly ready, in a large bowl, combine the cucumbers with the figs, almonds, chives and shallot. Re-whisk the reserved vinaigrette. Add the vinaigrette to taste, reserving some to dress the fennel and arugula. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then set aside.

4. Divide the burrata slices among four plates and arrange the cucumber-fig salad around and on top of the cheese.

5. Drain the fennel. In a medium bowl, combine the fennel with the arugula. Add the vinaigrette to taste. (Discard any remaining vinaigrette or reserve for another use.) Season the salad to taste with salt and pepper, then divide it among the plates. Garnish the plates with the reserved fennel fronds and serve.

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