With spring in the air the cravings for soupy, stewy comfort foods are subsiding and being replaced by a yearning for fresher, lighter fare. I love experimenting with different ingredients to create a variety of salads and sandwiches for spring lunches or BBQ parties, but one of my all-time favourite salads is one that I cannot take credit for. This salad by Jamie Oliver is fast, delicious,and beautiful. There’s something about the combination of sweet figs, milky fresh mozzarella and salty prosciutto that is perfectly balanced. It’s great on its own with some crusty baguette, or served as a dish alongside grilled meat or fish. And it’s always a crowd pleaser.
When choosing your ingredients, this is one of those recipes that is so simple the quality of the ingredients really stands out. I used a good quality prosciutto from the Niagara region, milky buffalo mozzarella (if not available, any fresh mozzarella will do), and fresh Italian figs. When choosing your figs, the softer the better. This means they are sweet and ready to be eaten, not rotten! The best time for these is June to August but you can generally find good figs year round. Enjoy!
The Easiest, Sexiest Salad in the World – Jamie Oliver, Happy Days with the Naked Chef
-150-200 grams prosciutto or Parma ham, thinly sliced
-fresh figs, soft (1-2 per person)
-2 balls fresh buffalo mozzarella
-a few leaves of fresh basil
-6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
-3 Tbsp lemon juice
-1 Tbsp good honey
-salt and pepper to taste
Criss-cross the top of the figs with a knife, then using your thumbs and forefingers, squeeze the base of the fig to expose the inside. This looks great, and allows your dressing to penetrate the fig. Place the figs on a dish, weave prosciutto around the figs, throw in some slices of buffalo mozzarella, rip over some green or purple basil and drizzle everything with the honey and lemon juice dressing. Salt and Pepper to taste. Dig in! And don’t forget to mop up those juices with your crusty baguette!
All Images by Laura Burke