Fig, pear, ham & sheep’s cheese salad

Fig, pear, ham & sheep’s cheese salad

Salada de figo, pera e queijo

By
From
Lisbon
Serves
4
Photographer
Steven Joyce

One happy year I managed to be in Lisbon for fig season, when mounds of ripe green figs are sold all over the city, as well as clustering, plumply, on the branches of trees in gardens and parks. Unlike the purple figs, which Northern European readers may be more familiar with, these figs are small and reddish-pink within. A punnet of figs never lasts long if my family are around, but occasionally they made it as far as a salad like this one.

I use a Welsh sheep’s cheese at home, when I can’t get either Évora or Nisa (although both are available from Portuguese online shops). Anything semi-hard and just firm enough to grate or shave into slices will work beautifully with sticky little figs.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
8 slices portuguese presunto ham, parma or serrano ham
200g seasonal salad leaves, washed
8-10 ripe green or purple figs, quartered
150g semi-hard sheep’s cheese, like portuguese Évora or nisa

Dressing

Quantity Ingredient
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
salt
freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Shred the ham into large pieces, place in a dry pan over a medium heat and fry until just crisp. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. Arrange the salad leaves and then the figs, either on a large platter or divided between 4 plates. Using a grater or potato peeler, shave wide strips of the cheese over the salad.
  3. Whisk together the extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice in a bowl, adding salt and pepper to taste, then drizzle this dressing over the salad. Finish with the frazzled ham pieces.
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