About this recipe:Luscious ripe figs go so well with lean Parma ham, and make an elegant little starter salad. In this delectable version, the vitamin content is boosted with the addition of green beans and bulb fennel, plus some fresh pineapple for an unexpected touch of tangy sweetness.
50 g (1¾ oz) thin green beans
100 g (3½ oz) mixed salad leaves, such as frisée and rocket
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
¼ bulb of fennel, cut into thin strips
2 shallots, finely chopped
6 ripe fresh figs, cut in half
90 g (3¼ oz) Parma ham, fat removed and cut into thin strips
1 large slice of pineapple, about 140 g (5 oz), cut into small strips
Balsamic and lemon dressing
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
juice of ½ lemon
salt and pepper
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Method Prep:15min › Ready in:15min
Drop the beans into a saucepan of boiling water and cook for just 2 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold running water.
To make the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar and lemon juice in a mixing bowl, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the green beans, salad leaves, mint, fennel and shallots, and toss to coat everything with the dressing. Arrange the bean and fennel salad on 4 plates or a serving platter.
Place the fig halves on the plates or platter. Add a mound of shredded Parma ham and a mound of pineapple beside them. Serve immediately.
For a hot grilled fig salad with ricotta, arrange the fig halves, cut side up, in a grill pan and sprinkle with 1–2 tsp sugar. Grill until the figs are warmed through and lightly browned and caramelised. Place the figs on the bean salad and dot them with 75 g (2½ oz) ricotta cheese. Instead of Parma ham and pineapple, cut 1 juicy, ripe dessert pear into matchstick strips, and pile next to the figs, with 30 g (1 oz) fresh Parmesan cheese shavings.
Fresh pineapple contains a substance called bromelain, a digestive enzyme that can break down proteins and can be used to tenderise meat. There is some evidence to suggest that bromelain may help to break up blood clots and therefore may be helpful in protecting against heart disease. Bromelain has an anti-inflammatory action and has been used in the treatment of arthritis. It is also believed to speed up the repair of damaged tissues.
Whoa...this dish just didn't come together it was too sharp... if you like the idea of it I would recommend - searching for Jamie Oliver's 'easiest sexiest salad in the world' it is much nicer - 12 Oct 2013