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Maple Roasted Fig and Serrano Ham Salad

I work next door to Borough Market – yay foodie heaven you might think and whilst you’re technically right, I don’t work in investment banking nor have 2 hour lunch breaks so I can neither afford to eat there regularly or have the time to navigate a hell hole of slow moving and oblivious tourists. You know the kind that just stop in the middle of the path and stand there like morons while everyone behind them withers to nothing? Borough is full of them. And then there can be the queues. I found 50+ people waiting at my one preferred lunch stand a couple of sunny Fridays ago. Nope!

Last week we had a new member of the office arrive so we went to the pub for lunch. When we emerged it was hammering it down (love August) and as I had no jacket or umbrella, I thought returning back to the office via the relative cover of the market was a good plan. It wasn’t on the whole but my eye was caught by one of the relatively few reasonably priced produce stalls and I ended up with 4 plump fresh figs for £2. Now – what to do with them?!

I do most of my ‘proper’ cooking when cooking for more than just me, so with a friend heading round for a Saturday evening in, I decided to make us a little salad to precede the spelt pizza I also made.

This was a hearty starter and the portions could be a light lunch. For a more generous main course, just increase the ingredient quantities – you can be quite free and easy with the ratios.

I was going to serve fresh mozzarella with this salad too but my 50% reduced fat ball of cheese was not of ‘eating raw’ quality so I stuck with a small amount of Graceburn Cheese. You could use any kind of fresher cheese such as ricotta, feta or mozzarella or if you are that way included, a soft blue cheese.

Serves 2 – 292 Kcal

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Ingredients:

4 Fresh Figs
2 tbsp Maple Syrup
2 large handfuls of Wild Rocket Leaves
4 slices Serrano (or Parma) Ham
1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
2 tbsp Graceburn Cheese (or 1 tbsp EV Olive Oil and another fresh cheese)
Sea Salt Flakes


Start by preheating the oven to a quite high temp – about 220c or equivalent.

Slice into 4 Fresh Figs from the top so they are quartered lengthways but don’t cut through the bottom so each fruit remains as one piece. Fan the quarters out slightly and place each in a small lined oven tray.

Drizzle 2 tbsp Maple Syrup over the figs and sprinkle with Sea Salt Flakes. Put in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the figs have softened a little and released some of their juice.

Meanwhile, arrange 2 large handfuls of Wild Rocket Leaves over 2 medium size plates and drape 4 slices Serrano (or Parma) Ham over the leaves.

Once the figs are ready, add 2 to each plate of leaves and ham and stir 1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar into the remaining juices

 Tip – If you are using something other than Graceburn Cheese, also add 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil to the juices and vinegar.

Lightly scatter 2 tbsp Graceburn Cheese over the two salads along with a little of the olive oil marinade from the jar.

Drizzle the salad with the fig juice dressing and serve.

For a heartier meal, why not try this with a side of my super easy Oregano and Chilli Sodabread?

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