Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tarragon and porcini sausage, figs, torn croutons, salad greens


Sunday morning I innocently paid a visit to Cassis (Kildare Centre) to procure some of their addictive bread­ — two blocks from my house, and half-price on Sundays, don’tcha know. I was pleased to discover that they’ve taken over the premises next door and now offer a proper café where you can sit and eat a meal, rather than having to scoff the spoils from their patisserie at home.

I was just departing when my eye caught a little blackboard off to one side, proclaiming: ‘Prawns, whole duck, duck breasts, duck leg confit, petit poussin, whole quails, pasture-reared chicken’. There was a little doorway just behind it — an entrance I had never really been aware of, and above it was written ‘Gogo’s: biltong, braai meats and other delicacies’ (a title that, I admit, would not have hooked me were it not for the blackboard outside. I like biltong as much as the next person, but it’s more of a road-trip staple for me, rather than everyday eating.)

Inside I stepped, and lo, there was a tray or two of said biltong, but past that... Dear reader, how can I explain to you what I felt? Delighted surprise, sure, but also great gushing excitement, joy and relief — here now was a purveyor of duck legs preserved in duck fat (confit), whole fresh duck, leg of lamb, and a host of other carnivorous treats.

It’s not that these things are particularly difficult to get hold of, but to have such a selection — free range wherever possible, I am told by Sam and Deidre, the proprietors, and reasonably priced — virtually on my doorstep, made me rather giddy. (Later, the Guinea Pig gave me a worried look on my return home, noting the crazed glint in my eyes and sheen of cold sweat on my brow — unmistakable symptoms of early-onset obsession.)

On the spot I purchased two duck legs, and a packet of the most exquisite tarragon and porcini pork sausage, with which I made this salad (in the same trip I popped into Melissa’s, which had the plumpest deep purple figs). It’s quite a rich salad, so I recommend having it as a meal in itself, with lashings of chilled rosé (I do go on about rosé a bit, don’t I?).

Tarragon and porcini sausage, figs, torn croutons, salad greens
Serves 2 as a main

4 ripe figs, torn into quarters
About four good quality pork sausages (try to find something special – Giovanni's sometimes sells an amazing wild boar variety)
Half a loaf of ciabatta, torn into bite-sized chunks
100g salad leaves (radicchio, rockets, lettuce, endive... whatever tickles your fancy)
1 tsp honey
1 tsp English mustard
Juice of half a lemon
Salt & black pepper, to taste

1. Toss the bread with about a tablespoon of olive oil (use your hands to get each piece evenly coated).
2. Lay the sausages on a baking dish and place under the grill (but not right under — I use the middle shelf in my oven), and cook until half done, about five or seven minutes.
3. Remove the baking tray from the oven and push the sausage to one side. Add the bread pieces to the baking dish and move them around so they absorb all the lovely juices from the sausage. Return to the oven and grill until the croutons are golden and crunchy, about five minutes. Check that the sausage is done and cook a little longer if necessary (remove the croutons if there is a chance they'll burn).
4. Set aside the croutons and sausage to cool, then tear the sausage into chunks.
5. Arrange the figs and leaves on a serving dish, along with the sausage and croutons. Drizzle with the salad dressing and serve.

Gogo’s, Biltong & other Delicacies
Kildare Building
Newlands Village
073 578 0685


  1. yes please, please, please make this for me when I eventually get to come and visit you! Only 2 weeks until my evening are free again! What a talented las you are!

  2. Very excited that Cassis now has a deli, thanks for that jewel of info! And this salad sounds sublime, have been craving fresh figs! Love your blog BTW, are you going to be at #FBI2011? Look forward to meeting you if you are! - Sarah

  3. How, my heart skipped a beat when you wrote, ..."four figs, torn.." I have been alerted to Gogo's and must make the trip. Lucky you to live to close. Gorgeous salad.

  4. I love this salad. And those sausages sound amazing! Very envious of your newfound store :-/

  5. Now that looks like one gorgeous salad & of course...., nothing would do better than a chilled glass (or 2) of rose with that. Looks amazing, specially eaten alfresco. The wild boar sausage sounds amazing, & very SA (have to admit the Sth African's really know how to make sausage taste a treat), but I'll figure something out because I've so got to try this combo. Thanks for sharing :)

  6. Aqui no Brasil faz muito calor, e as saladas são uma ótima opçao...essa parece estar deliciosa.
    Estou seguindo seu blog!

  7. Bloody Hell I am jealous. You just can't beat that fresh, delicious product like that! Now I absolutely must come back to South Africa. I hope you are happy, now.
    The salad looks fantastic. once again, brilliant!

  8. What a pretty & tasty good for you salad!! We just baught our dream house & there are 2 fig trees in the garden!! So, I can enjoy this fab salad!!