Fig and Pear Salad with Bresaola Recipe

Salade Figue et Poire à la Bresaola

[Fig and Pear Salad with Bresaola]

While planning the menu for our Saturday night dinner party, I realized I hardly ever serve salad as a first course. I’ll often use salad to accompany the star item, like a tartlet or a bruschetta or a mousse or a slice of terrine or what-have-you, but it is rarely a salad in its own right. I’m sorry.

I guess this is because salads don’t sound like they’ll be much fun to prepare : they’re pretty easy, it’s just a lot of ingredient preparation before the final tossing-together. But this time, I reflected that they can be nicely colorful and light, a fresh and satisfying opener served with good bread. And the added value is really in the pairing ideas, so I decided to explore that route, and composed this fig and pear salad with bresaola.

The idea came from a sandwich I recently ate at Cojean, a trendy healthy fast-food place that serves deliciously fresh products. It’s one of my absolute faves for a quick lunch, and I have written a review for Bonjour Paris (Note : it is in the premium content area of the site, for which you need a subscription, but I encourage you to consider getting one : it will open the door to a wealth of interesting and witty articles — and there is a money-back guarantee if you don’t like it).

Last time I had lunch there, in addition to my delicious spelt and green bean salad with hazelnuts, I enjoyed a mini-sandwich of fresh fig, pear, bresaola, and Fourme d’Ambert, on a loaf of whole-wheat walnut bread. Bresaola is an Italian specialty of dried beef, lean and moist, cut in paper-thin slices ; Fourme d’Ambert is a blue cheese from Auvergne. It was excellent, and the idea stuck in my mind, to be transformed into this salad. I substituted mozzarella for the Fourme d’Ambert though, because I thought blue cheese was a little too sharp for the ensemble.

This salad turned out pretty and tasty, and I loved the way the different elements came together : sweetness from the fig and pear, saltiness from the bresaola strips, mellow and tender mozzarella, crunchy slightly bitter walnuts, and tangily dressed greens.

We served it with fresh baguette, or more precisely the beautiful fresh heart-shaped baguettes the Boulangépicier makes for Valentine’s Day this year!

Salade Figue et Poire à la Bresaola

– 1 ripe and juicy pear
– 3 ripe figs
– 150 g mozzarella di bufala (incomparably tastier – but pricier – than the cow’s milk one)
– 4 slices of bresaola
– 2 Tbsp chopped nuts
– 4 large handfuls (about 100 g) mixed spring greens

For the dressing :
– 1Tbsp walnut oil
– 1Tbsp olive oil
– 1Tbsp balsamic vinegar
– herbes de Provence
– salt, pepper

(Serves 4.)

Prepare the dressing by whisking together all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.

Wash and dry the greens. Cut the figs in quarters. Slice the mozarella, and cut some of the slices to get twelve roughly equal pieces. Cut the bresaola slices in rectangular strips. You can prepare these elements ahead, and store them for a few hours, covered, in the refrigerator.

Cut the pear in quarters, core and peel them. Slice each quarter in four slices. (This has to be done at the last minute to prevent the pear flesh from getting brown. You could cut the pear ahead too and splash the slices with lemon juice, but I didn’t want lemon juice in this salad.)

Plating. Set out the four serving plates on the counter. On each plate, deposit a handful of greens. Set three pieces of mozzarella on top. Arrange a fourth of the bresaola strips and pear slices on top, in a star formation. Balance three fig quarters on top, and sprinkle with a few chopped nuts.

Use a small spoon to drizzle dressing all around the plate and on the salad.

Serve with fresh baguette or walnut bread.

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  • I know, I know, I’m a fusspot… but we spell it “bresaola”. I do like salads mixed with fruit, so I’ll try this (maybe with a few slivers of local cheese instead of mozzarella). I might also try to spread the recipe through the nearby Valtellina, blessed homeland of the aformentioned cold meat (good and lowfat like few others).

  • Todrownarose – Oh no, not a fusspot at all (though I love the expression), on the contrary thanks for pointing this out! I have made the correction immediately… :) I’m guessing the French have a tendency to spell it with two “s” (if at all) because in French, an “s” between two vowels is pronounced “z”.

  • Patrick

    I couldn’t help noticing this :
    “because in French, an “s” between two vowels is pronounced “z”.”

    Mmmff… There ARE exceptions, as you very well know ! ;°)

    And while I’m posting here, congratulations for your appearance as “Feedster’s Feed of The Day” !A thousand times deserved…

    And you know, the next Presidential Election in France is in 2007. Keep going with your blog as you’re doing now, and I think you stand a reasonable chance (but you might have to switch to French at some stage, I’m afraid…)

  • Clotilde, Clotilde, what am I going to do with you? You render me unoriginal once again: All I can say is, yum!

    I think this would also be lovely with Parma ham instead of the bresaola (or it looks that way when J*m** *l*v*r makes his stupidly named “sexiest salad ever” or whatever he calls it).

  • Eric

    Ah, a salad, now that’s more my speed! The figs / cheese /pear combo looks interesting, I’ll have to try that… with some sort of baguette, of course… I got addicted to those on my last trip to Paris.

  • Papa – I did consider mentioning the notable exceptions to that rule, but thought it better to keep it simple! :) Thanks for the Feed of the Day congrats and for your strong belief in my political carrer! ;)

    Jackie – Yes, Parma ham would be a perfect sub! It’s also more widely available I think…

    Eric – I’m glad this appeals to you, let me know what you think if you try it!

  • fred

    Bonjour Clotilde et bravo pour votre site!
    Merci également pour vos gentils mots sur Cojean.
    J’ai beaucoup aimé l’idée de votre salade d’après le petit sandwich que l’on a fait au restaurant.
    Sachez que l’on a ouvert depuis 2 semaines au 17,bvd Haussmann et que l’on se fera un plaisir de vous y rencontrer.
    A très bientôt!

    Fred maquair
    Associé d’Alain Cojean et responsable produits.

  • Fred – Merci à vous pour votre visite! L’ouverture d’un nouveau Cojean est une excellente nouvelle, je ne manquerai pas d’y faire un tour à la première occasion, et j’en profiterai pour vous saluer si vous êtes là, alors!

  • This is a very thoughtful salad, the use of the buffalo mozzarella is uncanny. I personally have prepared a very similar salad using, Dutch Parrano cheese – consisting of a nutty flavor – like mixing gouda and parmesan. The result was spectacular. My dressing was similar except it did not contain walnut oil – nice touch! Lovely

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