Fig, feta and pomegranate salad

Who knew figs were so tasty? I mean, I know I’m partial to a (packet of) fig rolls, but I never really associated the fruit with the sweet snack, and I know they look and sound delightful on Waitrose’s cool shelf, but I’ve never known what to do with them, or even really fancied them enough to think about what to do with them. Everyone else I’ve spoken to re the tricky little purple nugget, has said similar things. And it was only because push came to shove, because the aforementioned Waitrose was fresh out of avocado for my contribution to Dad’s Saturday night dinner party, a delicious yet simple and completely fail-safe combo of avo, mozzarella, tomato and olive oil, that I had to turn to figs.

Just above the avocado-shaped hole on the shelf, was where I encountered a packet of ‘perfectly ripe’ figs. At this stage, I still had no idea what to do with them, but figured fruit goes with cheese and salad is good for you. Grabbing a bag of baby spinach, a block of feta, a lemon and a pomegranate, I started thinking about concocting my zingy starter.

After some research, I found that most people bake the figs in the oven so I sliced them up and threw them in the oven. Then it was just a case of assembling the rest, and by gum did it work. The whole table loved it; the taste and also the unusual appearance of fig. Make fig the surprise guest at your next dinner party and I promise it’ll rise to the occasion.

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Makes 6 starters

4 ripe figs, cut into quarters

6 small handfuls of baby spinach

1 lemon

200g feta

A handful of cumin seeds

Olive oil

Pomegranate seeds

Put the sliced figs on a baking tray and cook for 20 minutes until they look a little shrivelled around the edges and sticky in the middle. Meanwhile, toast the cumin seeds in a hot pan for a minute or two.

Break the feta into chunks and put in a bowl with a little olive oil, a good squeeze of half a lemon and the cumin seeds. Let that marinate for a minimum of 15 minutes.

Mix the spinach leaves with a little olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper and then divide between the plates.

Top the leaves with the warm figs, crumble the feta over the top and finish with a scattering of pomegranate seeds.

Serve as a starter or up the portion sizes and have as a fresh, meat-free main. Of course, a little parma ham would work pretty darn well in this too…

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