I love the feeling of my teeth sink into a cold, plump fig from the fridge every late summer morning, the chill does a better job of waking me up than my strong Oolong tea. Beside that I feel especially nurtured eating them first thing in the morning, nothing too overwhelming for the empty stomach, just a hint of sweetness with the most delicate texture, and most importantly, it is packed with nutrients and a good source of fibre. I also love to add a few slices in my yogurt with honey and toasted coconut, or on my crispy toast with a spread of salty goat cheese and a drizzle of honey; bake them in buttery puff pastry with berries jam, or lay them on top of cake batter, bake until they turn dark burgundy and bursting with heavenly sweetness. I especially fond of adding them to salad, with torn mozzarella cheese and dry-cured ham, or with crumbled goat cheese and peppery rocket. So here it is for today, a humble experiment turns into a wonderful salad recipe. The fig provides a subtle sweetness for the whole dish, compliments brilliantly with the spicy Harrisa, garlic marinated prawns. The texture of this salad is balanced between creaminess and crunchiness, and finally the minty, spicy yogurt dressing ties every flavour and texture together, the end result is a delicious late summer salad that you will enjoy throughout this particular time of the year.
serves 2 (easily double)
For the dressing:
- 1/2 cup (125ml) natural yogurt
- 1 heaped tsp. harrisa paste (plus more if desire)
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice (plus more if needed)
- 1 heaped tbsp. finely chopped fresh mint leaves
- Salt and Pepper to taste
For the prawn marinate:
- 1 tsp. harrisa paste
- 1 tsp. tomato paste
- 1 tsp. garlic oil
- juice of 1/2 lime
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the salad:
- 14 raw tiger prawns
- 1/2 avocado, sliced
- 1 yellow courgette, sliced
- 1/2 green courgette, sliced
- 1 head of little gem lettuce, hand-torn into small pieces
- 3 figs, halved and then quartered
- olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- A large handful of fresh mint leaves
Peel the prawns, and gently rinse them with salted water, drain and then pat dry with kitchen paper. Add the prawns in the marinate, mixed well and set aside while you are preparing the rest of the dish.
Prepare the dressing by combining all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl, have a taste, it should be spicy (you can add more harrisa paste if you like it extra spicy) and tangy, so adjust the seasoning accordingly.
Add generous amount of salt and a few turns of freshly ground black pepper, a good glug of olive oil onto the courgette slices, heat a griddle pan until hot and grill the courgette until char marks formed and the vegetable starts to soften (about 3 minutes on each side), but do not over cook them, they should be a little crunchy but not soggy. Transfer them to a plate.
Assemble the salad (before you grill the prawns) by combine the lettuces, avocado, figs, grilled courgette slices and fresh mint leaves in a large salad bowl, set aside.
Brush the griddle pan with some olive oil and grill the prawns until cooked through, about a minute on each side. Transfer them to a salad bowl, then add the dressing, freshly ground pepper and an extra squeeze of lemon juice just before serving. Serve immediately.