Figs with sticky date dressing
This recipe is for when you see great figs, dusty white and deeply purple. The little boxes turn up a few times a year in the greengrocer’s near me, and when they do I make this.
This is a killer dressing for any robust salad. If figs aren’t in season, peaches, thinly sliced apples or clementines are all good too.
I use date syrup here – I always have a bottle in the cupboard for sweetening porridge, dressings, marinades, smoothies and for drizzling on pancakes. It’s a great, completely natural sugar with a wonderful deep malty backnote. If you can’t get date syrup, a couple of dates blitzed with a little oil will work, as will some good thick balsamic.
Goat’s cheese works brilliantly with fruit and is actually much easier for us to digest than cow’s milk products, due to its smaller protein molecules. It contains more calcium and minerals than cow’s milk and is alkalising on the system. I love it.
FOR THE DRESSING
1 shallot, peeled and very finely chopped
1⁄2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons date syrup or 2 dates blitzed with a little oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons good extra virgin olive oil
a small bunch of fresh mint
FOR THE SALAD
8 big handfuls of mixed salad leaves (I use rocket, radicchio, baby chard and mustard greens)
6 fresh figs, quartered
a small bunch of fresh basil
100g soft goat’s cheese or goat’s curd
Put the chopped shallot, mustard, date syrup and the juice of the lemon into a jug, season with salt and pepper and drizzle in the oil, whisking as you go. Chop the mint, add to the jug and set aside.
Put the salad leaves into a bowl and scatter the figs over. Give the dressing a good mix, then drizzle it over the salad. Pick the basil leaves off the stems and scatter over the salad, then toss everything together.
Dot the goat’s cheese over the top and it’s ready to serve.
IMAGE: Matt Russell