Give A Fig

There is a fig tree in the garden. It was here when we moved in. I am fond of it but our relationship isn’t easy. By the end of last summer it was huge so I cut it back a bit.

This year it has produced a few figs but hidden them right at the top and put all the rest of its energy into growing leaves. I can only imagine it is sulking and does these things to spite me.

baked figs with feta

Fortunately my neighbours also have a fig tree and theirs is more even tempered. Not the neighbours who gave me the vine leaves, the ones on the other side. Yesterday they saw me coming home and pressed some newly ripe fruit into my hands.

It was lunchtime so I made this salad. A nice combination of sweet, salty and sharp with just enough garlic in the dressing to give it a kick.

baked figs with feta

Baked Figs With Feta, Rocket Salad (serves 2)

Ingredients

  • 4 fresh figs
  • 60g feta
  • Olive oil
  • 2 handfuls rocket
  • ¼ pomegranate
  • 30g pine nuts
  • 1 orange
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 sprigs mint

Method

  1. Get rid of any tough stalks the figs might have and cut a cross into each one so it is divided into quarters, but still attached at the bottom. Put them in an ovenproof dish.
  2. Break the feat into large chunks and divide it between the figs. Drizzle over a little olive oil and season with black pepper. Bake for 15 minutes or until you can see the cheese begin to colour.
  3. Meanwhile, arrange the rocket on a serving platter or two individual plates. Toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan until golden and separate the pomegranate seeds. Scatter both over the rocket.
  4. When the figs are done take them out of the oven and pour any pan juices into a food processor. Add the skinned garlic clove in a food processor, 30mls olive oil and the orange juice and zest. Blitz then taste and season with salt and pepper. Maybe a little lemon juice if the orange is particularly sweet. Finely shred the mint leaves.
  5. Carefully nestle the figs on top of the rocket. Drizzle on the dressing and sprinkle over the mint.

Ifs And Ands

  • Most of the elements here are interchangeable. Goats or blue cheese would work in place of the feta. And spinach, perhaps wilted slightly, instead of the rocket. Toasted chopped hazelnuts or almond slivers could stand in for the pine nuts.
  • The orange dressing works well with oily fish. Try it on a grilled mackerel and spinach salad.
  • A small spoonsful of capers is a good addition too, briging a bit more acidity.