When Sabrina Ghayour started running her 'Sabrina's Kitchen' supper clubs, her Persian and Middle Eastern-influenced dishes made her one of the most popular self-taught chefs and food writers around. She went on to write Persiana, her first cookbook, and has just come out with her second, Sirocco: Fabulous Flavours from the East. Her recipes offered us exotic flavours that were still refreshingly simple to recreate.

Here, the figs, salty cheese and syrupy balsamic vinegar all work together in this salad to create a light but flavoursome dish that takes seconds to make. A young, fresh, semi-soft pecorino with a creamy texture – usually found in delis – is worth the additional effort it takes to find. 

Ingredients

  • 4 figs
  • 100g mixed baby salad leaves
  • 300g young, fresh pecorino cheese, or feta
  • 75g walnuts, chopping into pieces
  • Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 4 tablespoons thick, aged balsamic vinegar
  • Good handful of mint leaves, roughly torn
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Remove the stalks from the figs and quarter them.
  2. Arrange the salad leaves and fig quarters in a large shallow bowl or on a platter. Crumble the cheese over the leaves and scatter over the walnut pieces.
  3. Pour a good drizzle of olive oil over the salad, followed by the balsamic vinegar. Season with a good grinding of black pepper, scatter over the torn mint leaves and serve. 

Taken from Sirocco: Fabulous Flavours from the East by Sabrina Ghayour, published by Mitchell Beazley, £25; octopusbooks.co.uk.