"There are two things I love about summer time: the sun always shines and figs are in season. This salad has a deluxe combination of flavours and textures. You will need to strain the yoghurt in advance to make the labneh, but if you don't have time this recipe works well with marinated feta cheese or a soft goat's curd. The fennel-seed toffee really makes it extra special and is super-easy to make. This is a medium-set toffee and makes a little bit more than you need for the salad but I can guarantee that the leftovers will disappear quickly: it's really moreish. If you don't have agave syrup you can replace it with an extra tablespoon of raw sugar." ~ Anna Gare.
180g plain yoghurt
3–4 Tbs broken fennel-seed toffee (see recipe below)
1 small red Asian shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small Lebanese (short) cucumber, peeled, halved lengthways and thinly sliced
1/2 baby fennel bulb, thinly shaved
100g mixed salad leaves
1 handful of sunflower sprouts
4 thin slices of prosciutto, torn in half
3 large figs, quartered
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs sweet raspberry vinegar
1 handful of microgreens or soft herbs (optional)
Fennel Seed Toffee:
1 Tbs agave syrup
2 Tbs raw (demerara) sugar
2 Tbs water
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbs pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 Tbs sunflower seeds
3 tsp toasted sesame seeds
2 tsp flaxseeds (linseeds)
Strain the yoghurt overnight in the fridge through a fine mesh sieve or muslin (cheesecloth) set over a bowl to catch the whey (liquid). Discard the whey (or you can drink it) and reserve the thickened labneh.
Make the fennel seed toffee (below). When it’s cool, break it up into small pieces and set aside the quantity required for this salad. Store leftovers in an airtight container.
Toss the shallot, cucumber, fennel, salad leaves and sunflower sprouts together gently in a bowl, then spread them out on a large flat platter.
Arrange the prosciutto and figs on top, then dollop on a few spoonfuls of labneh.
Whisk the olive oil and raspberry vinegar together, season with salt and pepper and drizzle generously over the salad.
Serve topped with pieces of fennel seed toffee and microgreens or soft herbs (if using).
Fennel Seed Toffee:
Line a baking tray with baking paper and set aside.
Heat the agave syrup, sugar, water, fennel seeds and salt in a saucepan over low heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture starts to boil.
Increase the heat to high. Do not stir; cook until the mixture turns a dark golden toffee colour.
Remove immediately from the heat, stir in remaining seeds and pour the toffee onto the prepared tray. Push the toffee with the back of a spoon to flatten it. Allow to cool and set.
Credits: Images and recipes from Delicious Every Day by Anna Gare (Murdoch Books, RRP $39.99)
Photo Credits: Images and recipes from Delicious Every Day by Anna Gare (Murdoch Books, RRP $39.99)