This dish depends on the figs being sweet and perfectly ripe. Save yourself work by looking out for products such as balsamic cream or glaze.
4 small sweet potatoes (1 kg)
5 tbsp olive oil
40ml balsamic vinegar ( commercial rather than premium grade)
20g caster sugar
12 spring onions, halved length-ways and cut into 4cm segments
1 red chilli, thinly sliced
6 fresh ripe figs (240g ), quartered
150g soft goat’s cheese, crumbled (optional)
Maldon sea salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 240°C.
Wash the sweet potatoes, halve lengthways and cut each again similarly into 3 long wedges.
Mix with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, 2 teaspoons of salt and black pepper. Spread the wedges on a baking sheet, skin-side down, and cook for about 25 minutes until soft. Remove from the oven and cool.
For the balsamic reduction, place the balsamic vinegar and sugar in a small pan. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 2–4 minutes, or until it thickens. Remove the pan from the heat when the vinegar is still runnier than honey; it will thicken as it cools. Stir in a drop of water before serving if it does become too thick to drizzle.
Arrange the sweet potatoes on a serving platter. Heat the remaining oil in a medium saucepan and add the spring onions and chilli. Fry on a medium heat for 4–5 minutes, stirring often — careful not to burn the chilli — and then spoon the oil, onions and chilli over the potatoes.
Dot the figs among the wedges and then drizzle over the balsamic reduction. Serve at room temperature with the cheese crumbled over, if using.