For the next meeting of our World Spice Cookbook Club, we’re embracing the warm weather with Salmagundi: A Celebration of Salads from around the World. This recipe for a spiced fig salad, which comes from the book, artfully combines sweet and spicy flavors in a spice-infused honey for predictably delicious results.
From the Author: “This is a rather special salad. Actually, figs have the capacity to render pretty much anything special: their appearance is lush for starters – they have but to lie down on a plate or pose in a fruit bowl and they steal the show. They are also feted for their aphrodisiac properties: yup – they are the all-around floozy of the fruit world.”
Harissa Spiced Fig, Merguez, and Almond Salad
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ¼ tsp smoked paprika
- pinch of caraway seeds
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- ½ tsp dried mint
- pinch of salt
- 3 tsp runny honey
- 6 fresh figs
- 6 merguez sausages (or Spanish chorizo)
- smidge of oil
- 1/3 cup / 1¼ oz / 35g slivered almonds
- 1 3/4 oz / 50 g dark green salad leaves
- handful of frisee (curly endive) lettuce
FOR THE DRESSING
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp orange flower water
- ½ tsp harissa paste (optional: it is HOT)
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Preheat the broiler. Mix the spices, mint, and salt with the honey. Make a cut through each fig from the top to within a few millimeters of the base, followed by another at right angles to the first cut, so that you effectively end up with a cross cut through the top of the fruit.
- Pinch the 4 quarters created by the incisions so that the fig opens up like a flower, and divide the spiced honey between the figs. Broil them for around 1½ minutes until the fruit starts to sizzle. Turn the oven off, but leave the figs sitting there to retain their heat.
- Slice the merguez on the diagonal into ½ in / 1 cm thick oval slices. Heat a teeny bit of oil in a pan and cook the sausage for around 3 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon. Toast the almonds in the same pan for a minute or so until they start to color.
- Toss the greens in a bowl. Whisk the ingredients for the dressing together. Arrange the figs on top of the salad, and scatter with merguez and almonds. Drizzle with the dressing and serve with crusty bread.
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Salmagundi is the August 2016 selection for the World Spice Cookbook Club. Salmagundi is currently available for purchase at our retail store and online.
Recipe from Salmagundi, © 2014 Sally Butcher, published by Interlink Books. Image from Salmagundi, © 2014 Yuki Sugiura, published by Interlink Books.