chicory heaven


crisp slightly bitter chicory, blue cheese and toasted walnuts – a salad combination that is truly made in heaven!

i’ve been desperate to make this after a meal out where, given they’d run out of chicory, the chef substituted spinach and used the smallest amount of blue cheese dressing imaginable. still, this miserly behaviour was compensated for by the abundance of walnut halves plonked on top of the salad. plain walnut halves, not even warmed through to bring out the oils and flavour. such a disappointment.

so, chicory with blue cheese and toasted walnuts it is. and it’s been great. so great that i’ve made it three times in the last fortnight. and i have another bulb of chicory in the fridge calling my name... lucky me! and lucky you, if you take inspiration and give this a go.

chicory salad with blue cheese and toasted walnuts (serves 2-3 as a starter or side-dish)

2 heads white chicory

100g blue cheese*

50g walnut halves

chopped parsley (optional)

for the dressing:

1 small clove garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

1 tablespoon white wine

5 tablespoons olive oil

salt & pepper

a squeeze of lemon juice (optional)

peel the leaves off the chicory head, cutting the base to release them, as you go. wash them carefully and arrange on a plate (alternatively you can chop the chicory heads across to create bite-sized pieces, see below). crumble the cheese over the top.

roughly chop the walnuts and toast lightly in a dry pan until they start to colour. sprinkle these over the chicory and cheese.

assemble the dressing, adding the lemon juice at the end if you think it needs an extra sharpness. sprinkle over the salad and finish with some chopped parsley.

* i like beenleigh blue, a ewe’s milk cheese with a sweet fudgy flavour, available from neal's yard dairy. gorgonzola is another favourite.