A Salad of Crozier Blue Cheese with Chargrilled Pears and Spiced Candied Nuts
Crozier Blue is a ewes milk cheese made in Co. Tipperary but other mild blue cheese may also be used – Gorgonzola.....
A selection of salad leaves. If possible it should include curly endive, dandelion and watercress. Bitter leaves are brilliant for the gutmicrobiome...
Spice Candied Nuts
75g (3oz) sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground coriander
a pinch of freshly ground star anise
100g (3 1/2oz) walnut halves
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, we use Mani or extra virgin organic olive oil from Greece
salt and freshly ground pepper
3-4 ripe pears depending on size (Bartlet or Anjou)
ripe Crozier Blue or Cashel Blue Cheese
Gently wash and carefully dry the lettuce. Put into a bowl, cover and refrigerate.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.
Spread the walnuts in a single layer on a baking tray and toast them for 4 or 5 minutes just until they smell rich and nutty. Meanwhile, mix the sugar with the spices. Spread over the base of a frying pan in an even layer. Scatter the walnut halves on top. Cook over a medium heat until the sugar melts and stars to colour. Carefully rotate the pan until the walnuts are completely coated with the amber coloured spicy caramel. Turn out onto a silpat mat or silicone paper or an oil baking tray. Allow to cool and harden. (Store in an airtight container until later if necessary).
Whisk all the ingredients together for the dressing, pour into a jam jar, cover and store until needed.
Heat a grill-pan on a high flame. Peel, quarter and core the pears. Toss in a little sunflower oil, grill on both sides and then on the rounded side.
Cut the cheese into cubes or small wedges. Sprinkle the salad leaves with the dressing and toss gently until the leaves glisten. Taste and add more seasoning if necessary.
Divide the salad between the plates making a little mound in the centre. Slice each chargrilled pear in half lengthwise and tuck 3 pieces in between the leaves. Scatter with a few cubes of Crozier Blue and some spice candied walnuts. Sprinkle with a few sprigs of chervil and serve. Bellingham Blue, Stilton or Gorgonzola cheese would also be delicious.