Fig, cacioricotta and hazelnut salad

It’s well known that I am a fig fiend and when they are in season, I try to include these luscious beauties in all our kitchen fare.

It’s easy to see why poets have waxed lyrical about figs for centuries not only for their symbolism – fertility, sexuality, abundance – but for their honeyed sweetness when ripe, especially the Adam’s variety grown in the Karoo.

I am also mad about the Cape Town darling, Puglia Cheese, who produce heavenly buffalo mozzarella and other cheeses inspired by the Puglia region in Italy. For this salad I used a harder cow’s milk cheese, the cacioricotta, air dried and produced in limited quantities, this cheese is saltier than the mozzarellas and can be grated, cubed or sliced.

The saltiness of the cheese makes a lovely contrast with the jammy sweet figs; the griddled hazelnuts adds an earthy dimension and the slightly bitter rocket offsets the sweetness. With winter drawing in, this salad will make you think of sunshine.

For the salad:
100g rocket
6-8 figs, sliced in half lengthwise
A small handful of grated cacioricotta (alternatively you can use feta or another salty cheese)
30ml hazelnuts, roasted or griddled
Optional: seeds from a pomegranate

For the dressing:
30ml balsamic reduction (I used the one made by Verlaque)
60ml extra virgin olive oil (or salad oil of your choice)
A pinch of salt (optional)

As with most salads, the beauty is in the simplicity of assembly.
1. Add the rocket to a serving platter.
2. Top with halved figs and hazelnuts.
3. Scatter your cheese on top.
4. Dress your salad and serve immediately.

And there we have it. A simple but ever-so-sunny fig salad.

Recipe contribution from Food and the Fabulous. For more of her tasty recipes head on over to her blog.