I’ve been making this fig, goat cheese & serrano ham salad on repeat ever since coming back from the holidays and I think you should too!
When I think of figs, I immediately picture my father; every time, without a doubt, it’s always him. Even though almost indifferent to food and happy as long as there’s eggs, olives and a slice of bread on the table, my dad has always been enamoured with figs. Most probably, it is because of our fig tree in Pilio: plainly beautiful, with branches lightly green and sticky, it has gifted us with fruit for almost as long as I can remember. Not a lot of them- every year, there’s just enough to allow for a lot of snacking, a couple jars of jam and a handful to take back to Athens, just enough to make us fall in love all over again and anticipate the next summer.
That love took a while to grow; as a kid, I had little interest in figs. Part of it was, I’m sure, because of my father’s consistent efforts to wake us up at the butt crack of dawn to see the sun rise and go fig picking. When I was little, I wanted to sleep and as a teenager, I wanted anything but spend time with my parents. So figs were ignored and overseen and considered much too sticky. I’m not sure when exactly I got my first crush on them; it hit me hard non the less and it’s continued like so ever since.
So every summer and early autumn, it’s all about figs: picking and eating and incorporating them into quick bites and salads, almost always alongside cheese.
Fig, goat cheese & serrano ham salad
2 cups fresh rocket
6 black or green figs, quartered or halved depending on their size
100 gr goat cheese
3 serrano ham slices, torn to smaller pieces
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted
10 fresh basil leaves, torn (reserve some whole to decorate)
2 tablesspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Wash the rocket, pat dry and place on a serving place.
- Arrange the figs on top, along with dollops of the creamy cheese. Tuck in the ham pieces.
- Season to taste and add black pepper; drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and toss very slightly just before serving.