This salad has that dreamy combination of sweet, salty, creamy, and peppery flavors.... a party in each bite. And there is a lot of room for playful substitutions here. You could try arugula or frisee instead of watercress. Blue cheese could stand in for the chevre, or you can skip the cheese all together. I also think roasted hazelnuts would be tasty. And Abs says that pomegranate seeds are a nice addition as well... yum!
Wash and thoroughly dry watercress. Scatter leaves, with some stems left on, over 4 salad plates.
Slice figs and nestle them into the watercress.
Crumble chevre over each plate.
Cook bacon until crispy. (I suggest cooking the bacon at the last minute so that it's warm going into the salad. It really makes a difference.)
While bacon is cooking, take a jar (that has a lid), pour in balsamic and salt. Give them a stir to blend a bit. Add the olive oil. Put lid on jar, and shake it like crazy. My kids love to do this part. Take off lid and you've got emulsified dressing ready to go.
Crumble warm bacon onto the salad. Lightly dress each plate with a spoonful or two of dressing. (You may have dressing left over to stick in the fridge for your next salad....never a bad thing.)
Eat and enjoy!
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