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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)

Calories
319kcal
Carbs
11.5g
Sugar
8.8g
Fat
27.9g
Saturates
8.6g
Protein
3.7g

Serves 4  

Ingredients

  • 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
  •  

    Method

    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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