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Why you should give a fig about figs (plus three yummy salad recipes)

TAFE NSW Wagga Wagga

Why you should give a fig about figs (plus three yummy salad recipes)

SUMMER STUNNER: Sara Morley's prawn and mango salad is so good it would make a vegan salivate.

Here’s why you should give a fig about figs.

Figs were one of the first trees to be cultivated by humans, dating back to 9400BC.

They have inspired humanity ever since.

In ancient Egypt, they were known as the “tree of life”, and in India, Buddha achieved enlightenment under a fig tree.

But for a fruit that looms so large in human history, they can be a tad tricky to track down, as TAFE NSW cookery queen Sara Morley explained on her regular ABC Riverina TAFE Buds segment this morning.

“Figs have such a short season and even when I was preparing for this segment, I couldn’t find a fig for the life of me at the shops,” Ms Morley said.

“It made me think about how often we don’t have an ingredient for a dish and have to swap it out.”

Ms Morley said while it was frustrating to be left scrambling for replacement ingredients, it was actually a recipe to make you a better cook.

“It’s a way to ignite your creative spark and to get you thinking about how ingredients work together,” Ms Morley said.

Presenting a sumptuous scallop and fig salad to ABC Riverina Breakfast host Sally Bryant, Ms Morley also offered a morsel of advice for salad lovers.

“When you’re making a salad, put your dressing in the bottom of the bowl, pile the ingredients on top of it and then mix it through,” she said.

“It spreads the dressing on the salad more evenly … there’s nothing worse than an overdressed salad.”

If you’d like to sharpen your kitchen skills or consider a career in cooking, there are a smorgasbord of courses available at TAFE NSW. For more information, visit


Sara’s scallop and fig salad (serves four as an entrée or light lunch)


Scallop & Fig Salad

Prawn & Mango Salad

Feta, Peach and Pumpkin

16 scallops (approx. ½ kg)  

16 Prawns

120g marinated feta, 200g pumpkin

4 medium figs

1 mango

2 peaches

100g Baby spinach leaves

100g Rocket

100g mixed leaves

½ bunch continental parsley, leaves picked plus ¼ bunch fresh mint, picked

Parsley and thyme


3 tbls olive oil



Salt flakes



Vinaigrette Dressing  

Dressing (lemon and maple)

Dressing (seeded mustard and honey)



Place the scallops onto a large plate, drizzle with 1 tbls of olive oil and season with salt flakes, set aside.

Cut the figs into half, then slice into wedges. Place into a large mixing bowl. Add the spinach leaves, parsley and mint and 2 tbls of vinaigrette. Toss gently, then place ¼ of the salad onto each serving plate.

Place a large non-stick frypan over a high heat and once hot, add half of the scallops and fry for 1 minute on each side or until golden brown, then remove and place onto a resting plate.

Repeat this process with the remaining scallops. Once they are all cooked, place them on top of the salads. Drizzle over some extra virgin olive oil.