A perfect balance of sweet figs set against smooth creamy goat’s cheese with a lick of tangy dressing. Topped with a drizzle of fruity olive oil and smattering of toasty hazelnuts, this salad’s exquisite, there’s no two ways about it. Don’t add anything else to it, nor leave anything out. Just make it and eat it and let yourself be seduced.
3 Tbsp crème fraiche Flaky sea salt 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar 1 large radicchio (see Recipe Notes below) 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus a little extra for drizzling 1 small log (about100g / 3½ ounces) soft fresh goat’s cheese, chilled 4 perfectly ripe figs 2 Tbsp toasted, shelled and chopped hazelnuts Freshly ground white pepper to taste
1 Mix crème fraiche, ¼ tsp salt and balsamic vinegar together in a bowl. Whisk until smooth.
2 Trim radicchio, break apart into leaves, then into bite-sized pieces, and transfer to a bowl. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil and ¼ tsp salt. Toss well.
3 Slice goat’s cheese into 8 rounds with a hot knife (see Recipe Notes below). Cut figs into 6 or so segments each. Then assemble the salads on four plates.
4 Put a couple of teaspoons of the balsamic dressing on each plate, running the spoon through the dressing if you would like to make a fancy-pants smear (just like in a restaurant!). Arrange the radicchio leaves, figs and goat’s cheese on top. Scatter with hazelnuts, grind on a little pepper and drizzle with oil. Serve immediately.
Choose a heavy ball of radicchio weighing about 150-180g (5-6 ounces), or enough to yield 4-5 cups of torn leaves.
Keep the goat’s cheese chilled until ready to slice because it is hard to slice when at room temperature. By all means slice it ahead, just cover it loosely and return it to the fridge. It’s easier to slice goat’s cheese with a hot knife. Choose a thin bladed knife, not a thick chunky one which would crush the cheese. Put the knife in a cup of very hot water, wipe dry, then slice the cheese. You’ll most likely need to return the knife to the hot water after every slice (wipe it first!).