Mizuna is one of my favorite salad greens: the delicate, lacy leaves are not only beautiful; they also have a mild peppery bite that makes them a wonderful substitute for arugula.
A simple and refreshing garden salad, spiked with citrus and a hint of smoky spice
Here the dainty Asian greens are dressed in a delectable lime vinaigrette and adorned with sweet melon slices, fresh figs and smoky cashews. It makes for a superb and refreshing salad that’s perfect for the summer and fall season, when melon and figs are at their peak!
You might also like to try this lovely mizuna and cucumber salad with red onions, feta and Champagne vinaigrette.
Food & wine pairing: Moschofilero with fresh fig and melon salad
Pour a Moschofilero from Greece. This exotic grape yields wines that are light-bodied, crisp and wonderfully perfumed. The crispness of the wine matches the tangy vinaigrette, while its floral aromas pair marvelously with the melon and figs. A dry Riesling, of course, is delicious here too!
Fresh fig and melon salad with baby mizuna and smoky cashews
active time: 30 min
For the cashews
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon Pimentón Dulce (smoked Spanish sweet paprika – see sources above)
- pinch ground cayenne
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
For the vinaigrette
- 1/4 teaspoon lime zest (use a microplane grater)
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon sherry wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon or fennel greens
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the salad
- 5 oz (140 g) baby mizuna or baby arugula
- 1/4 ripe melon – halved lengthwise, peeled and cut crosswise in 1/4″ slices
- 8 fresh Black Mission or Adriatic figs – halved
- Step 1: To roast the cashews – Place the cashews in a small bowl and add the olive oil. Stir with your fingers until well coated with the oil. Heat a small heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cashews and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring or shaking the pan frequently, until the nuts are golden-brown. Transfer to a bowl, sprinkle with the Pimentón Dulce, cayenne and salt, and stir until well coated with the spices. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
- Step 2: To make the vinaigrette – Place the zest, lime juice, vinegar, herbs, oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk until well blended and set aside.
- Step 3: Place the greens in a large bowl. Drizzle with two thirds of the vinaigrette and toss until well coated. Place the greens into a large salad bowl. Tuck the melon slices between the leaves. Garnish with the fig halves. Top with the smoky cashews. Drizzle with the balance of the vinaigrette and serve immediately.