M Cooks: A supremely healthy salad

Try this little beauty of a salad that's just full of things that are good for you.

Arugula, gorgonzola, fig and walnut salad is a beauty of a summer dish.
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We're all about beauty in this issue and so this week's recipe is a perfect collection of what I call Beauty Food. Well, maybe not the gorgonzola cheese but the rest of it anyway. Arugula (or rocket as it is commonly known) is one of those things that you just know is good for you because children refuse to eat it. Yuk, they scream as soon as they see it - it has the same effect as spinach.

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I read somewhere that the fact that children refuse to eat anything green is not because they are trying to be difficult, but because there is some genetic predisposition they are born with not to eat anything green. I guess if you think about it, a lot of green stuff is actually off, so that makes sense.

Anyway, the other key Beauty Food in this recipe is walnuts. Walnuts have a high content of omega-3 fatty acids. Now you don't need to know what all that means, but just be happy that anything with the word omega in it is good for your skin. Added to which, walnuts were used to treat head ailments during the Renaissance, because they look like the brain. I guess in those days they were Brain Food as opposed to Beauty Food.

Figs, of course, were said to be the favourite fruit of one of the greatest beauties of all time, Cleopatra. They don't need any more of an endorsement than that. But if you do want to know more, they are perfect if you're on a diet because of the high natural fibre content, and they are also considered to be an aphrodisiac. What's not to like?

Everyone hates hearing that dull "You are what you eat", but it is so true. You look at people who live on fast food and you can just see the damage they are doing to themselves. The fact is, we all go on about beauty, but it is really health we are talking about. If you eat well and are healthy then it shows on your skin. I admit I am not a good example - I smoke so my skin suffers from that - but I do try to eat well and I notice the difference in how I look and feel when I do.

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So knock this salad up and give your skin a boost. Just go easy on the full-fat cheese.


Arugula, gorgonzola, fig and walnut salad


400g arugula (rocket) leaves

80g gorgonzola cheese, medium hard

80g dry figs (around 8)

40ml extra virgin olive oil

2 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

40g shelled walnuts (around 20)

100g croutons (around 15), toasted


1. Wash arugula leaves, dry with a salad dryer and set aside.

2. Cut the gorgonzola and figs into 1cm cubes.

3. Mix olive oil, salt and pepper in a blender (or hand whisk) until smooth.

4. Toss the arugula with the dressing and place in a salad bowl.

5. Top with gorgonzola, figs, walnuts and croutons and serve.