Black Fig, Mozzarella and Basil Salad
We’re acutely aware that summer is coming to an end, which is why we’re clamoring for seasonal produce while it’s still around. Ursula Ferrigno’s black fig, mozzarella and basil salad—or insalata di fichi con mozzarella e basilico, as they would say in Italy—is everything a late-summer side dish should be: fresh, flavorful and beyond easy to make.
“At the height of the fig season in September,” the author of Cucina Siciliana writes, “Sicily is alive with fig recipes, each region adding their own subtleties. This was enjoyed by my father and me on a lazy balmy Sunday lunch under the pergola of family friends in Siracusa.”
“Please be sure that every ingredient is ‘just so,’” she continues, “to preserve the deliciousness of this simple salad.”
If we close our eyes and take a bite, it’s like we’re in Sicily too.
From Cucina Siciliana: Fresh and Vibrant Recipes from a Unique Mediterranean Island by Ursula Ferrigno, Ryland Peters & Small, 2019.
8 black or green figs, stalks trimmed and peeled
2 fresh mozzarella balls (preferably buffalo), torn
Generous handful of basil leaves, torn
1 small shallot, finely chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
Crusty bread, to serve
1. Halve the figs and arrange on a serving platter with the mozzarella and basil. Top with the shallot, sea salt and black pepper.
2. Mix the vinegar and olive oil together to form an emulsion and drizzle over the salad. Serve with crusty bread to mop up the juices.