Peppered Figs, Air-Dried Ham and Celery


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


    as a starter or light meal

Appears in

Figs with cracked peppercorns are such a good combination of flavour and texture – intense sweetness balances heat, and crunch counteracts soft figgy goo. The ham provides mild background sweetness while crisp celery ribbons add a refreshing cleanness to the dish.


  • celery 2 tender stalks
  • sea salt flakes a pinch
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • extra-virgin olive oil 2 tsp
  • marjoram or flat-leaf parsley finely chopped to make 2 tsp
  • lemon juice a squeeze
  • semi-dried figs 3
  • black peppercorns preferably Tellicherry, 2 tsp, cracked
  • air-dried ham (such as San Daniele, Serrano or Parma) 4 slices
  • baby chard or spinach a small handful
  • celery leaves a few snipped, to garnish


Remove the strings from the celery stalks with a swivel peeler. Cut the stalks in half crossways. Using the peeler and working from alternate sides, shave each piece into thin ribbons. Put in a bowl and toss with a pinch of crumbled sea salt flakes, a few twists of the pepper mill, the olive oil, marjoram and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Slice the figs in half from top to bottom and gently press the sides to plump them up. Press the cut surface onto the cracked peppercorns so that they stick and mingle with the fig seeds.

Arrange the ham on individual plates. Place three peppered fig halves on top, with a small mound of chard leaves and celery ribbons to one side. Drizzle with the juices left in the celery bowl. Sprinkle with snipped celery leaves.