By Laura Ratliff and Ryan Smith | October 11, 2011

Photo: Laura Ratliff

Along with the cooler temperatures, Fall also brings with it some of the best produce around: butternut squash, kale, Brussels sprouts, apples, pears and one of the best of all-figs! These tender, sweet fruits are a treat to eat on their own (believe us, we ate plenty of them!) but they can really shine when paired with a few supporting cast mates.

We paired our Black Mission figs with smoky lamb sausage, grilled red onions, and a creamy Sainte-Maure goat cheese, all atop a bed of baby greens and drizzled with a simple balsamic vinaigrette.

Photo: Laura Ratliff

While you could substitute any kind of sweet or hot Italian sausage in this salad, it’s worth getting lamb sausage. Its rich and complex flavors add an entirely new character to this dish. The cheese you use is also very important. Any crumbled goat milk cheese (or even feta) will be delicious, but an aged cheese, like our Sainte-Maure, will be much smoother and a bit more salty than tangy-a great combination with the figs.

Photo: Laura Ratliff

Every ingredient sang on its own, but this dinner was really spectacular when everything-the honey-sweet figs, the salty sausages, the rich and creamy goat cheese-came together as one delectable unit. It also doesn’t hurt that this beautiful (if we do say so ourselves) meal came together in about 20 minutes. Efficient, party-worthy, and delicious dinner? You certainly can’t beat that!

Photo: Laura Ratliff

Laura Ratliff and Ryan Smith are the authors of Smith & Ratliff, a New York City-based lifestyle blog. They write about food, cocktails, art, style and life in New York City. Follow them on Twitter: @smithratliff.

For more amazing recipes from Laura and Ryan, follow me on Twitter (@MarcusCooks)

  • 4 fresh lamb sausages (or Italian sausages)
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • Mixed salad greens
  • 8 oz Sainte-Maure goat cheese (or other aged goat milk cheese), sliced into rounds
  • 6 fresh figs, quartered
For the vinaigrette:
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp brown sugar


1. Heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle onion with salt and pepper and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Remove onion from skillet and add remaining tablespoon of oil.

2. Cook sausages until browned, about 3 minutes per side, depending on their size. Remove from skillet and let rest for 5 minutes, then slice.

3. Meanwhile, mix olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic clove and brown sugar in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.

4. Arrange greens on a plate and top with sausage, grilled onions, figs, and cheese. Drizzle with dressing.

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