I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before (I definitely have), but my absolute favourite kitchen book (I don’t call it a cookbook because it isn’t, really, but it’s certainly a book everyone should have in their kitchen) is the Flavour Thesaurus by Niki Segnit.
As the name suggests, this book is a complete reference guide for flavours that go together beautifully – including ones that you wouldn’t expect. Today’s recipe was very much inspired by a few flavour combinations that I found in the book: mint and strawberries, strawberries and balsamic vinegar, and fig and almonds.
When combining flavour combinations (as in using more than one), its important to make sure that the flavours won’t be jarring – if almonds and strawberries were just wrong together, for example, this recipe wouldn’t work. However, nuts love strawberries and vice versa, so everything in this salad comes together in one glorious cohesive whole with the slightly spicy greens as a good backdrop to place them against. The greens are the Fuzzy Felt board, if you will, and the fruits, nuts and dressing are the Fuzzy Felt people.*
Spring is in full swing here in Edinburgh and getting figs, strawberries and mint from my favourite veggie market man was just the impetus I needed to create a gorgeous fruit-loving salad.
This is also exactly the sort of salad that goes perfectly with Pims, although of course that didn’t enter into my head when I was making it *cough*.
*Apologies if you weren’t born in the 80s and so have no idea what this refers to. I’m not explaining it though.
4 fresh figs, quartered
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 large handfuls rocket/watercress/spinach or a mix of the three
2 tablespoons fresh mint, roughly chopped
5-7 large strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup almonds, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
For the dressing:
1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tablespoon granular mustard
1/2 tablespoon agave nectar (or other liquid sweetener)
fresh black pepper
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius
Melt the coconut oil in a pan and remove from the heat. Stir in the 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar and the figs and stir to coat
Place on a baking tray and put into the oven
Roast for 30 minutes
While the figs are roasting, mix the greens, mint, strawberries, almonds and sesame seeds together in a salad bowl
Mix together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, mustard, agave, black pepper and salt to make the dressing
When the figs are done, add to the salad, drizzle with the dressing and toss to mix
Serve with a little more salt and black pepper