Sweet pear & apple salad with bitter chicory & a creamy blue cheese dressing

This is an adaptation of an old-school French chicory salad. Chicory, also known as Belgian endive, is quite a bitter leaf, and to contrast the bitterness I've used the sweetness of the fruit, the twang of the vinegar and the creamy silkiness of the cheese. I think it's important to make this with good-quality apples and blue cheese.

Nutritional Information (amount per serving)


Serves 4  


  • 4 heads chicory, a mixture of red and white if possible
  • 2 English eating apples
  • 2 pears
  • 1 handful fresh soft herbs (such as chervil, tarragon, parsley or a mixture), torn or roughly chopped

For The Blue Cheese Dressing

  • 50 g strong blue cheese
  • 50 g crème fraîche
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus a little extra for drizzling
  • 4 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons water


    Separate the leaves from the chicory, then wash and spin them dry. Core your apples and slice them into matchsticks. Core the pears, slice into eighths and if they're a little underripe, grill them in a screaming hot griddle pan until lightly charred. If they're perfectly ripe, just place in a large bowl with the chicory, apple and most of the herbs.

    To make your dressing, place all your dressing ingredients into a liquidizer and blend for just 15 seconds until smooth. Taste to make sure you've got a little extra acidity in there to cut through the bitterness of the leaves, and season if necessary. Pour three-quarters of the dressing over the salad and toss – I usually dress the salad lightly using the tips of my fingers. Divide them between four plates, and finish with a little extra dressing, the remaining herbs and a little extra virgin olive oil. Lovely with some walnuts crumbled over.

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