Fig, prosciutto and hazelnut salad recipe

Posted on March 25, 2013

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I’ve mentioned previously that I do not have a green thumb at all. It’s a slightly shameful thing to admit for a self claimed food lover I know. I’m hoping to change this at some stage and perhaps dabble in some gardening. But for now, I’ve still got my folks to rely on for the constant supply of fresh herbs, fruits, veggies and organic free range eggs from their backyard garden and small flock of chickens. Usually their overbearing insistence on providing for me (despite the fact that I’ve moved out of home for years now and can darn well look after myself!) is exasperating, but sometimes  it’s just darn cute. Take my recent ‘care package’ for example; a carton of figs picked from the tree in their backyard. How adorable is this? Not just adorable, but totally ingenious as well – it’s a perfect way of protecting the delicate fruit.

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Now to use them. And in total accordance with my natural desire to copy restaurant/cafe dishes I’m fond of, I decided to try to replicate the fig, prosciutto and hazelnut salad I tried at The Reading Room last year. It was a lovely combination of flavours, the sweetness of the figs work brilliantly with the contrasting saltiness of the prosciutto. A soft poached egg gives the dish a bit of richness and finally, the crunchy hazelnuts provides textural contrast. Yum on a plate!

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To attain perfectly poached eggs at home, I used Heston Blumenthal’s method. It is by far, the best method I’ve come across. All you really need is the freshest eggs you can get your hands on. The fresher and better quality the egg, the firmer the egg white and the more the egg will stay together. I know free range eggs are more expensive than the caged ones, but when eating eggs in its own right, it really is worth spending that little bit extra to get a better quality egg. Older or caged eggs are best left for baking or for recipes where you won’t taste the egg itself.

RECIPE – Fig, prosciutto and hazelnut salad (serves 1)

Ingredients:

  • ~2 cups mixed salad leaves washed
  • 3 slices prosciutto
  • 1 or 2 figs, peeled and quartered
  • small handful of toasted hazelnuts roughly chopped
  • 1 egg

Dressing:

  • 1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Method:

  1. On a plate, arrange salad leaves, prosciutto slices, figs and hazelnuts.IMG_6347
  2. Mix dressing and pour over salad.
  3. To poach egg using Heston’s method, place a small plate on the bottom of a medium saucepan and fill 3/4 with water. Place on medium heat and bring water temperature to 80°C. The plate is there to prevent the egg from touching the base of the saucepan which will be too hot.IMG_6348
  4. While waiting for the water to reach the desired temperature, crack the egg into a small bowl. Then pour the egg into a slotted spoon to drain away the wispy bits of egg white (the fresher your egg, the less egg white you will drain away).
  5. Once the water temperature reaches 80°C, gently lower your slotted spoon with egg in it into the water. Poach for 4 minutes and then gently remove with slotted spoon to drain away water.IMG_6349
  6. Place your perfectly poached egg in the centre of the salad. Serve immediately.IMG_6350

No, I did not eat all 3 eggs in the photo above! I made 3 serves of this salad because some friends had come over for a light lunch on the weekend. And might I say that they rather enjoyed the salad. Fresh flavours and a gooey poached egg to tie all the elements together. Win.

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