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)
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?

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.

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.


  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).

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

  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.

  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?

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

  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!

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

  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!

  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.

  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.

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

  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!

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

  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.

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

  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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