© David Loftus
the easiest sexiest salad in the world
I love this salad. Apart from being a great combination, it always seems unbelievably effortless, which is the kind of recipe I like. The constant success of this is due to the common-sense marriage of salty Parma ham, milky buffalo mozzarella and sweet figs, which obviously need to be of a good quality. The best figs to use are Italian and the best time to buy them is June to August when they are in season. Greek figs are a good second-best and are in season from September to November. The best figs always seem to be those that are about to split their skins. Use green or black figs - it doesn't really matter.
One thing I do is to criss-cross the figs but not quite to the bottom - 1 fig per person is always a good start. Then, using your thumbs and forefingers, squeeze the base of the fig to expose the inside. At this point you'll think, 'Oooh, that looks nice, I think I'm quite clever ...' or at least I do. More importantly, it allows your dressing to get right into the middle of the fig. All these little things really help to make a salad special. Simply place the figs in a dish, weave around 1 slice of Parma ham or prosciutto per fig, throw in some slices of buffalo mozzarella and rip over some green or purple basil. Mix 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, a tablespoon of good honey and some sea salt and freshly ground black pepper together in a bowl and drizzle everything with this dressing. As far as salads go, it's pretty damn sexy.
PS It's a good idea to have some spare bread on the table to mop up the juices - always a treat.
• from Happy Days with the Naked Chef