Warm fig and hazelnut salad with fig chutney vinaigrette
From the CNM Natural Chef Kitchen at the College of Naturopathic Medicine.This warm fig and hazelnut salad is rich with flavour and texture, from the sweet and tangy chutney dressing to the salty crunch of toasted hazelnuts. The grilled figs and the lightly toasted nuts bring a warmth to this light autumnal lunch. Figs are a great source of fibre which is essential for good gut health. Rocket is a bitter leaf known to stimulate stomach acid and pancreatic enzymes, both of which are essential for proper absorption of vitamins and minerals. The roasted hazelnut topping offers a great source of manganese which is essential for good brain health.
For the salad:4 small fresh figs 1 cup of rocket 1 cup of baby spinach ½ red onion, sliced 1/3 cup of hazelnuts – skin off and roughly chopped ¼ teaspoon sea salt
For the chutney vinaigrette:4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil 3 large dried figs, finely chopped 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoon of maple syrup 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon 2/3 cup of water ½ teaspoon of ground cumin ½ red onion, finely chopped A pinch of salt A pinch of black pepper
- To prepare the chutney for the vinaigrette, add the chopped dried figs to a small saucepan along with the chopped onion. Add the maple syrup, water, cinnamon, cumin and 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring well to combine.
- Reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring regularly.
- Whilst the chutney is cooking, add the hazelnuts to a dry pan over a medium heat. Toast until fragrant and lightly golden 4-5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and toss in the sea salt. Set aside.
- Add the spinach, sliced onion and rocket to a salad bowl and toss to combine.
- After 20 minutes, remove the lid from the chutney and continue to simmer until sweet and sticky and all the liquid has evaporated – about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- In a mixing bowl, add the extra virgin olive oil, remaining balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Whisk well to combine, forming the basic vinaigrette.
- Whilst the chutney cools, remove the stalks from the fresh figs and carefully slice the figs into quarters from the top to about 4/5ths down. Gently encourage the quarters apart to form a flower.
- Heat a grill to high and lightly brush the fig flowers with a little olive oil. Arrange on a grill tray and cook until warmed through – about 3 minutes.
- Once cool, add the chutney mixture to the prepared vinaigrette. Mix well to combine.
- To serve, divide the salad leaves between two serving dishes and top each with 2 grilled figs. Scatter the toasted and salted hazelnuts over each salad and spoon over the fig chutney vinaigrette.