Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Last week was exhausting. Between working back, a few late nights, feeling the beginnings of a cold and then having to work on my day off, by the time the end of the week came around I really, really understood the meaning of the age-old saying “TGIF!” But on the way to work on Friday, I had a little stickybeak at the Rocks Markets and found figs – gorgeous dark purple figs, which I bought without a second thought.
I usually try not to impulse buy fruit and vegetables without a clear idea of what I’m going to do with them, but I just couldn’t resist these figs. It was especially exciting because Nanna’s fig tree had a poor yield this season, with the wet, humid weather and the birds who got to them before we could! So I wanted to show them off in the simplest way possible, and what better than a seasonal salad, just perfect for this time of year.
Figs and hazelnuts seem to be best friends, and they are one of my favourite flavour combinations. I simply roasted the nuts in the oven for a few minutes so I could easily remove the skins. The recipe that inspired the salad had a balsamic reduction, in which you cook down some balsamic vinegar until it’s thick. I skipped this step, but next time I might try it. I also couldn’t find any hazelnut oil so I substituted with macadamia oil, which is more readily available.
I feel a little silly actually giving a recipe for this, because it’s so simple, but it’s more a set of instructions for assembling it. You could serve this on it’s own as a light lunch or a starter, or as I did as a side dish to a gorgeous prosciutto and quince paste wrapped chicken breast, which was delicious.
Fig and Hazelnut Salad
Recipe inspired by Notebook magazine
Serves 1 (but easily scaled up)
For each person
• Large handful of mixed greens or watercress, rinsed and patted dry
• 2-3 figs, torn in half
• 5-6 hazelnuts
• Macadamia Oil and Balsamic Vinegar
1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Place hazelnuts in a shallow metal baking dish and roast for 5 minutes. Place warm hazelnuts in a clean tea towel and rub with your hands to remove the skins. This is more easily done when they are still warm.
2. In a bowl or on a plate, assemble the lettuce and the torn figs on top. Scatter over the hazelnuts, dress with macadamia oil and balsamic vinegar and serve.