Red chicory with Roquefort, clementine and walnut dressing
Funny how three intrinsically bitter ingredients can work as harmoniously as these but the Roquefort, endive and walnuts do just that. As in the braised chicory recipe that follows, citrus rounds everything off, as do the Dijon mustard and the dash of chilli. The more usual thing is to crumble most of the Roquefort into the salad and to add the remainder to an olive oil and vinegar dressing. I’ve cut out a step and done away with most of the oil, in what’s already a pretty full on dressing. It isn’t the prettiest colour but nothing that can’t be zhuzhed up. Just chop a small handful of flat leaf parsley or chives and stir into the dressing, together with the orange or clementine zest before pouring it over. The striated claret and white endive leaves are almost like an exotic, orchid’s petals, so though easier to eat if you slice them to slivers, since we also eat with our eyes, I prefer to leave them intact.
4 – 6 whole red chicory, tough end sliced off, leaves separated
6 whole walnuts, shelled or 12 walnut halves
100g roquefort, or any other, sharp, salty blue cheese to your taste
¼ small red onion, chopped very small
juice and zest of 1 clementine
2 tbs boiling water
1 tsp dijon mustard
dash tabasco, or other chili sauce
dash sweet white vinegar
handful flat leaf parsley or chives, finely chopped
½ tbs walnut oil, optional
¼ tsp cracked black pepper
Place the separated leaves in a wide, flattish bowl and set aside for a minute.
Bring a kettle to the boil. Then crumble the Roquefort into a small bowl. Add the boiling water and stir to melt the cheese. Add the remaining ingredients, including herbs. Stir and pour all over the leaves. Scatter walnuts atop and serve.