One of the first recipes I have ever made from Jamie Oliver is this salad. Ever since then, I make it when I can get a hold of fresh and juicy figs. It's a perfect summer dish, filling, yet light and so pretty.
I love this salad. Apart from being a great combination, it always seems unbelievably effortless, which is the kind of recipe I like. The constant success of this is due to the common-sense marriage of salty Parma ham, milky buffalo mozzarella and sweet figs, which obviously need to be of a good quality. The best figs to use are Italian and the best time to buy them is June to August when they are in season. Greek figs are a good second-best and are in season from September to November. The best figs always seem to be those that are about to split their skins. Use green or black figs – it doesn’t really matter.
Yield : Serves 4
4 slices Parma ham or prosciutto
4 slices buffalo mozzarella
A handful green or purple basil, leaves picked
Honey and lemon juice dressing:
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon good honey
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the salad:
One thing I do is to criss-cross the figs but not quite to the bottom – 1 fig per person is always a good start. Then, using your thumbs and forefingers, squeeze the base of the fig to expose the inside. At this point you’ll think, ‘Oooh, that looks nice, I think I’m quite clever...’ or at least I do. More importantly, it allows your dressing to get right into the middle of the fig. All these little things really help to make a salad special. Simply place the figs in a dish, weave around 1 slice of Parma ham or prosciutto per fig, throw in some slices of buffalo mozzarella, rip over some green or purple basil and drizzle everything with the honey and lemon juice dressing. As far as salads go, it’s pretty damn sexy.
For the honey and lemon juice dressing:
Mix everything together in a bowl and season to taste.
PS: It’s a good idea to have some spare bread on the table to mop up the juices – always a treat.