Monica Shaw

Fig and Gorgonzola Salad

Great British Chefs - November 28, 2013

Tangy and sweet. So different. And yet, so good together. This is especially true of really bold blue cheeses like Gorgonzola, an Italian blue cheese noted for its prominent greenish-blue veins and distinctively sharp smell. Both of these features become more prominent as the cheese matures, and if you've got taste buds that are anything like mine, then the more mature, the better.

Gorgonzola cheese often finds its way into dips, risottos or pasta dishes, but I like my gorgonzola on the fresher side, served with something sweet to really bring out the best of Gorgonzola's tangy creamy deliciousness. My favourite is this fig and Gorgonzola salad, dressed in a sweet vinaigrette.

The vinaigrette, though simple, is absolutely key here. Figs aren't terribly sweet on their own so you need a sweet dressing to lift the figs and balance the cheese. If you ever impulsively bought a bottle of raspberry or blackberry vinegar, now's the time to pull it out of the cupboard. If not, no problem - any good balsamic will do.

The other key is, of course, the figs. Who doesn't love figs? Add a few walnuts and some rocket and this salad really has it all: tangy and sweet flavours, soft and crunchy textures, crisp greens and, of course, the wonderful cheese. Plus, it comes together in no time at all and looks beautiful on the plate, making it a good option for an easy lunch or an attractive starter for your next dinner party.

Fig and Gorgonzola Salad

Serves 4


  • 120g rocket
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 3 tsp raspberry, blackberry or good balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp sugar (omit if your vinegar is already sweetened)
  • 120g Gorgonzola cheese
  • 4 fresh figs, quartered
  • 120g raw walnuts
  • salt


  1. Put the rocket in a bowl. Make the dressing by whisking together the olive oil and vinegar with a small pinch of salt. Dress the rocket in just enough dressing to cover the leaves.
  2. Break the Gorgonzola up into rough pieces, using your hands or a knife.
  3. To serve, pile the rocket on each plate. Then top with the figs, walnuts and Gorgonzola. Finish with a drizzle of the remaining vinaigrette.