Salmon With Figs, Saba, And Watercress- Food and Wine Festival 2008

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This dish calls for fresh figs rather than dry, and if you’d rather saute the salmon, you can throw the cut-up figs into the same pan.

2 tablespoons saba or top-quality balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for coating the salmon
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 bunches watercress, rinsed and spun dry
Four 6-ounce salmon fillets, skin on
8 ripe figs, halved

In a small bowl, whisk together the saba and the 1/2 cup olive oil, and season with about 1/2 teaspoon salt and a pinch of black pepper. Put the watercress in a mixing bowl, add some dressing, and toss to coat. Divide the salad among four plates.
Preheat a grill pan over a medium-high flame.
Rub the salmon fillets on both sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place skin side down in the pan and cook until the edges of the fish begin to turn opaque, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn the fillets and cook 1 minute more. Transfer them to the serving plates, skin side down, over the watercress.
Place the figs in the grill pan, moving them around gently until they begin to wilt, about 2 minutes. Arrange the figs on each serving plate (four halves per plate) and drizzle them with whatever saba vinaigrette remains in the mixing bowl. Finish with a sprinkling of salt and black pepper. Serve immediately.


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