Aged Comte, Fig and Bayonne Ham Salad

After a glorious morning cycling in Burgundy, you arrive at your picnic spot and it's time for lunch. A rug is laid out on the ground, crusty bread is cut and the cork is pulled from an excellent bottle of wine. In the shade of of a tree you rest the legs, enjoy the view and refuel on healthy salads and local produce. 

The best cycling picnics are made from the best seasonal ingredients and are prepared in minutes. In the late summer in Burgundy succulent figs hang on their branches and it is a crime not to enjoy them. These jammy-sweet sacks of goodness, pair perfectly with a well -aged Comte from the mountains of the Jura, that lie to the east of Burgundy. 

Good  Comté should have a nutty flavor, which becomes more pronounced the older it gets. Most Comtés are sold having been aged a minimum of four months,  and those that fall between six and twelve months have a milkier, creamier flavour than the older, slightly dried cheeses. For this salad I like to use a cheese that has been aged for at least eighteen months. It breaks up easily and the nutty 'twang' of the cheese pairs with the super-sweet flavour of the figs and the salt of the ham.

serves 4

  • Four ripe figs.
  • 200g of 18 month aged Comte.
  • Eight thin slices of local cured ham. 
  • Bag of mixed salad leaves. 
  • Olive oil, lemon juice and chardonnay wine vinegar. 

1. Add the salad leaves to a shallow bowl. Add a little olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice and a cap full of vinegar and turn through with your hands, 

2. Cut the figs into quarters and place on top of the salad. 

3. Loosely tear up the ham in your fingers and add to the salad, making sure to discard any chewy pieces of rind.  

4. With a sharp knife whittle away at the cheese so that thin slices fall over the salad.

Hungry Cyclist Picnic