Simple summer salad with fresh figs and a subtle syrup made of vanilla and black pepper. Add a few slivered almonds, fresh mint, and it’s ready!
I just landed in Stockholm and I now find myself in the middle of the heat wave that has been going on in Europe since the beginning of summer. I lived in Sweden for several years in the past but never experienced such high temperatures and heavy weather in this region. Usually summer is “lagom” as Swedes would say (lagom means “not too much – not too little”; it’s all about the right balance of everything). I’m heading to an island in Stockholm archipelago for the weekend and hope for a fresh breeze brought by the sea… As for now, cool, fresh, and cold become my favorite words. By the way, make sure you check my 25 no-bake recipes to beat the heat, you might find some great inspiration.
The recipe I suggest today is adapted to the weather and also to the season since it features fresh fruits or should I say fresh figs to be more exact, and as you might know the fig season is quite short, ranging from August to late September most of the time. I cherish fresh figs more than any other fruits and feel all excited each year when they are in season. Sadly I never lived in a region where fig trees could grow but if I happen to be on vacation in Mediterranean countries, I usually recognize the sweet smell of fresh fig trees way in advance.
Other fig recipes you might also like:
- Fig & Goat Cheese Pizza with a Whole Wheat Crust
- Vegan Fig & Almond Smoothie
- Rustic Fig & Walnut No-Knead Bread
Today’s fig recipe is extremely simple, so simple indeed that you can ask yourself if there is a need for a recipe really. Well, there is actually, and I’m happy to share with you the trick of this magic syrup that will literally amaze your taste buds. I discovered it a few months ago when I partnered with Peugeot Saveurs USA for a 4 day event, working with their fantastic spices, salt and pepper. There, I discovered that pepper could be so much more than just a pepper; it’s all about choosing a high quality product and the one that pairs perfectly the dish you prepare. I since started to use their products on a regular basis and I am totally seduced (I precise here that I am not sponsored of any kind here, this is my very own and personal opinion, shared by my husband David too).
A simple sugar syrup with infused black pepper and vanilla can go a long way and bring a simple fruit salad to a whole new level. I tried it with figs but it can work with other fruit salads, such as strawberry salad or pear salad for instance (for this last one, you can even cook the pears in the syrup). I chose here to use fresh figs rather than cooking them in the syrup, in order to appreciate their sweet taste at their best while they are in season. You could if you wish pre-cook them a little with a little bit of honey if you wish.
The last part is all about the toppings. Sprinkle some slivered almonds and add a few fresh mint leaves to serve, and reserve some of the syrup so that your guests can add a little bit more if they want. I prefer my fig salad not too sweet as I believe it’s important to enjoy the taste of fruit in itself; sugar is just here to add a little something but must never take over the taste of fruits. If now you feel creative, replace almonds with any other nuts of your choice (pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts…) and add some fresh goat cheese if you are on the adventurous side of sweet and savory flavors. Bon appétit!
- 12 medium size fresh figs, cut into quarters
- ½ cup (100g) cane sugar
- ½ cup (100 ml) water
- 1 vanilla pod, seeds
- 1 Tablespoon black kampot pepper, freshly ground (important)
- 2 Tablespoons slivered almonds
- Fresh mint leaves (optional)
- In a small saucepan placed on very low heat, place sugar, water, vanilla (pod and grated seeds), one tablespoons of freshly ground black pepper, and infuse for about 5-10 minutes, until mixture thickens.
- Remove the vanilla pod and drain the syrup with a strainer in a bowl.
- Place in the fridge for about 15-30 minutes, then serve with fresh figs cut into quarters. Sprinkle slivered almonds, add a few fresh mint leaves, and it's ready!