If you love figs as much as we do, you'll agree this is the ultimate summer starter. In addition to the sublime flavours , we also adore the beautiful colours of this dish - the deep reds of the fig and syrup against the green and white of the witlof and cheese. It may sound strange to serve syrup over a salad but trust us on this, this syrup is sweet but spicy too and is a perfect foil for the richness of the cheese and figs,
Serves 4 as a starter or a light lunch
180g Greek fetta, roughly chopped into cubes
1 teaspoon Mountain Pepper
handful of rocket
8 ripe figs, halved
arils from Pomegranate
freshly ground black pepper
For the Syrup dressing (this makes 1/2 cup. You will only need half of this so save the rest for drizzling over just about everything)
1/2 cup water
1 cup castor sugar
10g Blood Lime Flakes
5g Pepperberry if available. If not substitute with Sichuan Pepper
Fisrt make the syrup and allow it to cool.
Place the water and sugar in a small heavt-based saucepan and bring to the boil, without stirring.
Add the Wild Lime Flakes and Pepperberry or substitute.
Reduce the heat and simer gently until the volume has reduced by a third. Take tthe pan off the heat and strain the syrup through a fine sieve - it should be as clear as possible. As it cools it will become thicker and the syrup will keep for a few months in a sealed bottle or jar kept in the refrigerator.
Allow it to cool completely before dressing the salad.
Mix together the fetta and Mountain Pepper and leave to infuse for at least 20 minutes.
Pull apart the witlof, rinse and pat dry. Arrange of four serving plates.
Add the rocket, fetta and fig halves. Cut the Pomegranate in half , from top to bottom, and carefully remove the arils from one quarter only. Seal the cut Pomegranate and refrigerate.
Scatter the arils over each salad.
Drizzle the syrup over the salads, ensuring a little dresses each fig and serve.
copyright Juleigh Robins, used with permission