Sunday, 16 October 2011

Radicchio with pears and blue cheese


In my garden right now I have some beautiful Radicchio - red chicory. This is the variety "Firestorm".


Here's one, prepped for use:-


This gives me the opportunity to put it together with the pears I harvested 10 days ago to make one of my favourite salads:- radicchio with pears, blue cheese and walnuts.

This is a fabulous combination - a long-time favourite. It works with any good blue cheese, but this time I chose Danish Blue, which has a really strong tangy flavour which nicely complements the sweetness of the ripe pears. These are the ingredients of this super-simple, easy to prepare, but stunningly tasty and visually impressive dish;
Radicchio (red chicory)
Pears
Blue cheese
Toasted walnuts
Salad-dressing of your choice


The dish is ridiculously easy to prepare. Separate the radicchio into individual leaves, and wash carefully. Dice some blue cheese. Cut and de-core the pear, leaving the skin on unless it's particularly coarse. Toast a handful of walnuts (toasting them intensifies the flavour). Make a vinaigrette dressing. Combine all solid ingredients; drizzle with the vinaigrette and plate-up.


Serve with a nice crusty bread, such as this Fougasse.





This is a real taste sensation: crisp, slightly bitter radicchio; soft, sweet pears; sharp, tangy cheese; crunchy walnuts for nutty warmth and texture; and that drizzle of vinaigrette to bring it all together. You can't fail to enjoy it - especially if served with a nice glass of chilled Rosé wine...

Ali: when we have that special meal at Hazel's I think I'll do a small-scale version of this as our starter. OK?

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P.S. While I'm on the subject of pears, I just wanted to show you one more photo. Yesterday, I sampled the first of the pickled pears that I made about a month ago. Here's how I ate them:- with some cold ham, some extra-mature Cheddar cheese and a home-grown tomato. I loved the pears. They were sweet yet savoury at the same time.


I think the pears would go really well with the walnut and honey soda bread that Janet from Plantaliscious posted about recently.


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P.S. I'm retrospectively amending this post and adding a link to comply with the rules for the "Simple and in Season" link-up on Ren Behan's Fabulicious Food.

17 comments:

  1. Beautifully presented... you could open up a restaurant! The cabbage and the turnip dish in one of your previous posts looks fab as well. I'm so hungry right now! I see your cloches have come out. I have carrots in a tub outside I'm worried about, I'll need to cover them I suppose (I have no cloches).

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  2. Oopps parsnip in your last dish! (Why do i always think turnip?)

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  3. I am not a blue cheese fan at all but haven't tried it since high school so maybe I need to try it again. Love the look of the second dish though, so simple, yet so good for you.

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  4. I am new to blue cheese. I tried it in w hot wings dip in Hawaii in Feb and have really fallen in love with the flavor. I haven't had to nerve to try it straight. Your posting makes it look irresistible. Could you recommend a blue cheese for a newbie?

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  5. My mouth is watering, the best food is simply made with great ingredients

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  6. Must admit I find chicory too bitter tasting and like Becky I'm not a clue chesses fan but I do like pears and walnuts!

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  7. Both dishes look delicious. I think I'd choose the second one though as I prefer cheddar over blue cheese.

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  8. Substitute the blue cheese for parmesan and i'd be very happy indeed (yes another blue cheese sceptic - or should that be Philistine?). I see you come from the English school of cheese cutting - Big solid slabs of Cheddar - Yum!

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  9. Hey, help me out on the Blue Cheese issue, someone! Blue Cheese is lovely, but it is an acquired taste. I still remember the days when I would only eat the white bits.
    Erin, if you're looking for a good one to start with, try Dolcelatte, which (as the name suggests) is quite sweet and mild.

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  10. I keep meaning to enjoy blue cheese with pears, and I keep forgetting. I better hurry up, otherwise the season will just pass me by.

    I do agree with you that blue cheese is an acquired taste, i used to dislike it - but now, give me blue cheese over cheddar.

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  11. Thanks Mark. I'm going to give it a try.

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  12. Love the blue cheese! Neal's Yards Shropshire blue is one of my all time favorites! Creamy, Tangy - a wonderful counterpoint to fruit, excellent on steak. Love it!

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  13. I would be very pleased to get either of your tasty meals. Yummy.

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  14. Hi Mark.

    Food looks fab. Good to see someone else growing radiccio. I've found it to be such a great veg. I plant some late summer, and it is really hardy. Only the snow has killed it off in the last two summers.

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  15. Hooray! I'm glad that at least some other people appreciate the merits of blue cheese. :)

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  16. I got some radicchio seeds free and sowed them back in June. They grew really well and looked so impressive. I was really chuffed and then I harvested them. Wow they were bitter, too bitter. It was sooooo disappointing. So I ended up composting the rest. It's always the case the plants you love the most seem to be the hardest to grow and those you don't like romp away.

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