Andalucian Sunshine With Salty Cheese And Sweet Sherry

It’s green fig season in sunny Andalucia. Locally they are known as Brevas – the green cousin of the black fig. They are totally divine and Anne Manson just can’t get enough of them.
By Anne Manson

For years I’ve been assembling a salad combo of Avocado, Bacon, Mango & Walnut with Roquefort. Not because I don’t want to use a Spanish blue cheese, it’s just that the much sought after blue cheese of Spain’s dairy herds in Asturias, Cabrales, has been impossible to find here. That was until last week when Palomita (the best deli in town) started stocking it. It was one of those real jump up & down for joy moments when I saw it winking at me from Mari-Paz’s deli counter. In the past I’ve mixed brevas with Roquefort and even had the opportunity to use mango with Cabrales, but last night – WOW – Brevas with Cabrales!! It was incredible. I’m not one for keeping left over salad because lettuce looks really unappealing when it’s been ‘cooked’ by vinegar but the salad combo was so delicious that the tiny bit leftover was popped into the fridge and the following day –  the flavours were still sensational.

This is what happened when I got back to the kitchen with my newly acquired lump of Cabrales – one salad bowl and the following ingredients assembled to make this scrummy salad of total divineness.

Andalucian Sunshine with Salty Cheese and Sweet Sherry
 
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Fresh Green Fig Salad with Cabrales Blue Cheese, Toasted Walnuts and Fried Bacon de-glazed with PX Sherry
Author:
Recipe Type: Salad/ Appetizer
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 8 x large Brevas or fresh figs, peeled & quartered
  • 1 x pkt of chopped bacon bits (approx 120gms)
  • 100mls PX Sherry to de glaze
  • Huge handful of peeled Walnuts, toasted lightly in dry fry pan
  • 100gms of Cabrales or Roquefort or Stilton – crumbled
  • The best sweet lettuce you can find – Romaine, lettuce hearts etc
Instructions
  1. Begin by washing and drying the lettuce and put in bowl.
  2. Toast walnuts in dry fry pan and decant onto a plate after toasting.
  3. Wipe fry pan clean of any walnut skins with a dry cloth and return pan to a high heat.
  4. Cut figs into quarter, peel & scatter over lettuce along with crumbled Cabrales and walnuts.
  5. Grind some Black Pepper on top.
  6. Add bacon to burning hot fry pan then patiently leave to sizzle and brown for maybe a minute before you start to toss/stir. When browned you may want to wipe away excess fat with paper towel.
  7. Turn the heat down and add PX.
  8. Bubble until slightly reduced.
  9. Scatter over salad with a good slug of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and a generous splash of Sherry Vinegar.
  10. Toss gently.
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