An Autumn of Salads – Fig & Pecorino

In my garden at the moment I have a lovely selection of leaves available for eating.  I have some new lettuces coming on: oakleaf varieties, Cos, Salad Bowl, my personal favourite – Freckles and a number of unknown varieties from a mix.  Other salad leaves are: rocket, mizuna, and perilla and all are growing happily.  I also have my usual number of herbs: sorrel, parsley, chervil, Vietnamese mint, basil, Thai basil, and mint.

As part of this monthly series of posts which I am sharing on Veg Plotting’s Salad Days I am attempting to post a recipe which highlights a different way salads leaves can be used.  In January I used lettuce as a base for a warm chorizo & haloumi salad.  Last month it was the turn of the aromatic leaves in a Calamari salad and this month I am highlighting peppery leaves.  This Fig and Pecorino salad was inspired by one in the Ottolenghi cookbook which I happened across in the Coburg library and am now about to purchase.  In this recipe the peppery leaves operate as a foil for the sweetness of the figs and honey dressing and add a dimension that would be otherwise lacking in this lovely autumnal combination.  The figs came from my neighbours tree and the leaves from my parents garden as it was at their house that I prepared the salad.

Fig & Pecorino Salad with Peppery Leaves

  • Figs
  • Shaved fresh pecorino
  • A mixture of peppery leaves like rocket, mustards, even Vietnamese mint
  • A handful of other soft herbs – basil, chervil, mint

Dressing:

  • 2 tbspns honey
  • 3 tbpns extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & pepper

Mix together the dressing ingredients.  Arrange the salad ingredients on a plate.  Pour over dressing and eat.

I served the salad with some tabouleh and some baked mini peppers filled with a feta and herb mixture.  I think the combination worked well together.

After we had pretty much finished eating the salad I looked over at the serving plate and there was a big fat green caterpillar making its way around the plates edge.  Hugely funny but I have to admit being quite glad I didn’t eat it.  Shame it wasn’t in any of the photos though.

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21 Responses to An Autumn of Salads – Fig & Pecorino

  1. Daphne says:

    That is so funny. When I was harvesting my cilantro I stripped the leaves off and went to the sink to wash them. I about jumped out of my skin when a spider came out of the leaves. I didn’t even notice when preparing the leaves. I put him outside. Spiders really give me the heebee jeebees.

    • Liz says:

      Ick – I’m not a spider fan either, in fact I’m really not a fan of anything that can jump out of the leaves, much better they sink quietly to the bottom of the washing water.

  2. Kirsty says:

    I’m sure we add a bit of extra protein to our diet with bug consumption, there’s always the odd little blighter that holds on!

  3. You do have a good amount of greens in your garden. Which one is in the first picture. I have never tried chervil. I don’t think I ever saw in the market here. Love that you served your peppery salad with mini baked peppers.

    • Liz says:

      I call it Vietnamese mint, but it is also known as Laksa leaves, and maybe by other names. I like chervil it has an aniseedy type taste.

  4. Mark Willis says:

    I usually wash my salad in salty water. This seems to persuade the bugs/ caterpillars etc to give up…
    I like ripe figs with soft blue cheese, like Gorgonzola.

    • Liz says:

      That is a good idea – I do it with broccoli because of the number of critters that like to hide in the heads but I hadn’t thought to do it with salad leaves.

  5. Diana says:

    Your laksa leaves looks very lush. We usually use them in fish dishes. So many selection of herbs. Autumn a good time for them. The first time I encounter fig is here in OZ.

    • Liz says:

      The soft herbs do seem to love Autumn. I like the idea of the leaves with fish – I will have to look up some recipes.

  6. Lrong says:

    This is new to me, the mixing of figs with salad greens… am impressed with your wide selection of veggies…

  7. Jules says:

    That salad sounds just divine – will definitely be giving that one a go once my rocket starts to bulk up.

  8. Norma Chang says:

    Delightful combination, so simple and so few ingredients each complimenting the other. Lovely presentations and photos.

    • Liz says:

      Thanks Norma, I really enjoyed eating it too. I agree with you about few ingredients – sometimes less really is more.

  9. Dave says:

    The fig and pecorino salad sounds heavenly. I can almost taste the sweet figs and the salty pecorino. What a great combination.

    I always say the only thing worse than finding a caterpillar on your plate is finding half of one!

    • Liz says:

      Very true, I have yet to find a half one which either means I haven’t eaten one or I take very large mouthfuls. I suspect the latter is more likely…

  10. Oh my mouth was watering reading your post! Absolutely lovely combination of flavours. The simplest things are often the best…

  11. Anna says:

    Both my husband and I grew up with fig trees in our back yards. Now we have our own trees where the kids pick and eat the figs themselves. For those that don’t have fresh figs growing in the back yard, you are really missing out on a deliciously sweet treat!

    • Liz says:

      I think that’s fabulous, fortunately my kids are too small to reach most of the fruit so I tend to keep most the figs for myself he he he. That wont last forever though….

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