Freshly grown fruit and vegetables, one of the many reasons why I moved to Spain to devour myself in the sweetness of freshly grown produce. The good thing and I guess the bad thing is I am secretly helping myself to something so delicious that I am in search for more edible finds. I honestly believe that if fruit tastes so good in its natural surroundings it has to be a forbidden pleasure! As I go on my walks to Silla del Moro, which is located past the Alhambra, near my home I often think about tourists and how they want to consume culture, it’s not a bad thing but I think some places should be kept a secret and left in its unspoilt state. They want to taste the local and the traditional and here the brevas (the first fruit that the fig tree produces each year) are in season and found everywhere. I am glad though because this keeps the local fruterias busy and in business. Anyway I often go for walks in the hills passed the Alhambra with my bag packed full of key ingredients; mozzarella, olive oil, honey, salt, pepper, salad leaves, Serrano, butter, freshly stone baked bread and other delicious goodies. Just is in case I find something wonderful to eat as I often do! Recently I came across a fig tree, ripe with sweet, woody scents; I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. I couldn’t help myself and picked a few in search of a shaded spot to eat them.
The Hillside has so much to offer. It is relaxing and takes take you to a place unknown where nature is at its best. Life I can honestly say slowly goes by giving you the opportunity to make the most of each day. I have never seen so much wildly grown herbs, I could smell the fresh aromas whilst walking, it captivated me and I was eager to find them and take them home to make a simple olive oil dressing. I found myself surrounded with bushes of rosemary in full blossom, with deep pink coloured blossom; I just knew I was going to use them with slices of lomo (pork tenderloin) cooked in a good chug of olive oil, sea salt and crushed garlic, releasing woody scents of wild rosemary with roasted, deep garlic…ummm. I thoroughly enjoy walking in the hills because it is a great place to be with such unbeatable energy. I feel lucky to be surrounded by beautiful scenery’s and everything Spain has to offer, it’s like having a never ending goodie bag. I was lucky enough to come across some more herbs, I know…I hit the jack pot, and I found fresh sage and tarragon. What more could a girl ask for? The texture of the sage was velvety and I found myself mesmerised by the scents of pepper and lavender, I could see a barbeque of boquerones (anchovy fillets) dripping in sage oil and soaking up the smokiness of sage. As you can see I take such pleasure in food and lucky that I get to be in a place that gives me constant inspiration.
Let us move on, this recipe is all about the brevas (figs) in its sublime moment. As I was walking I knew the only thing I could make was a salad with my delectable goodies. Unfortunately these brevas are in season in Spain and can be found in a many fruterias with such sweet flavour. If you are in the UK I would suggest going to your local greengrocer if you don’t want to pay over the odds, if not your local supermarket. Nonetheless my recipe is about brevas (figs) because it was super fresh and has been picked that day.
Brevas (figs) is obliviously the main ingredient of this light dish and doesn’t need to be tampered with because it has the perfect amount of sweetness to be shared with my savoury ingredients. Another essential ingredient is jamón ibérico de bellota (free range pigs fed on acorns) my favourite, it holds strong, smoky flavour, which goes perfect with the crunchiness of the fig seeds. I have seen recipes where they add pine nuts and I don’t think it is necessary as the brevas (figs) hold enough bite on their own. There’s nothing better than the luscious sweetness of the brevas with the thin slices of the jamón, where they simply just melt in your mouth. If you cannot buy jamón ibérico de bellota, you can also use jamón ibérico or serrano.
And my offer still stands, if you are ever in Andalucía, come visit me and we can explore the world of cooking.
3 ripe, juicy brevas (figs) cut into quarters
6 thin slices of jamón ibérico de bellota
A decent handful of rocket lettuce
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon of red chilli flakes
1/4 tablespoons sea salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
On a serving dish place your lettuce, figs and torn jamón.
Pour into a bottle the olive oil and honey and add in the chilli flakes and sea salt.
Seal the bottle with the lid and shake vigorously until all the wonderful ingredients are infused together.
Pour the dressing onto the freshly prepared salad and enjoy whilst indulging into a breathtaking scenery.
And remember to share it with someone you love.