This is my favourite way to enjoy figs, and a clear exception to my no-basil-leaves-in-salad policy. (Raw, they can overpower things and they get all wilty and darken. Real divas, they can be.) It’s an adaptation of Jamie Oliver’s “easiest, sexiest salad in the world“…and I think mine’s better. I mean, I’ll be eternally grateful to him for the inspired arugula, fig, honey dressing idea but in having to modify this salad, I think I also improved it. Just saying.
When I discovered his version I was vegetarian and I wanted to omit the Parma ham but retain the saltiness and fattiness that it must have brought to his salad. So I added olives, green like the ones you see in the picture or black, sun-dried olives which are so soft and fleshy you can separate the pits with your lips. But I also added arugula both to stretch this rich salad a bit and also for its peppery-ness, which, quite frankly it needs. A punchy leaf is a great foil for the figs and very sweet dressing. I’m not trying to win an award here but try it his version and mine and you tell me.
The dressing is 6:3:1 extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and honey respectively, but adjust that depending on your salad and what you think it needs. Using arugula, you could stand to add more honey or scale it back if you want to use lettuce. Other sweet stone fruit might be fine in this salad, but still, peaches and plums really can’t compare to those sexy figs. The salad’s name needed no tweaking, that was perfect from the start.