250 grams dried figs
½ cup boiling water
2 medium fennel bulbs, trimmed and feathery tops reserved
1 small red onion, sliced thinly
1 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
18 new potatoes, cooked and halved
1 jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
4 lamb backstraps, trimmed of all silverskin
½ cup fresh basil leaves
Place the figs in a bowl and pour over the boiling water. Cover and leave for 10 minutes. Remove from the water and when cool slice lengthways. Reserve a ¼ cup of the soaking water.
Cut the fennel bulbs in half and slice thinly using a mandolin or sharp knife. Blanch in boiling water for 30 seconds then drop immediately into cold water to refresh. Drain and dry.
Soak the onions in cold water for 20 minutes then drain and squeeze dry in a clean tea towel. Place the fennel, onions, figs, cherry tomatoes, potatoes and the artichoke hearts in a large bowl.
Whisk the reserved water, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and garlic together, season with salt and freshly ground pepper and pour over the salad.
Preheat a ridged grill or sauté pan until hot.
Brush the lamb with a little oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes each side until well browned but still pink in the centre. Cover lightly, rest for 5 minutes then slice thickly on the diagonal.
Toss the basil through the salad and arrange on a platter. Top with the lamb and scatter over the feathery tops of the fennel.
Menu: Serve with Goat’s Cheese Fritters with Beetroot and Fried Mint and Hazelnut and White Chocolate Brownie with Marinated Berries and Mascarpone to finish.