CHICORY, STILTON AND HAZELNUT SALAD
This is a quick and easy to prepare salad that takes the pressure off when you're entertaining.Prep the ingredients in advance and assemble the salad just before you want to eat.
2 heads of red chicory
2 heads of white chicory
A double handful of toasted hazelnuts (100-150g)
About 120g Stilton, crumbled
FOR THE DRESSING
The juice of ½ lemon
Double that quantity of good olive oil 1 tspn runny honey
2 tspn double cream
Salt and pepper, to taste
To toast the hazelnuts, pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4, line a tin with baking paper and roast for 10-15 minutes, giving them a shake every five minutes. They should smell fragrantly nutty but be careful they don't burn.
If they're unskinned, wrap them in a clean tea towel and leave for 10 minutes, then rub them together inside the cloth to remove the skins.
In a small bowl, stir together the honey and lemon juice, then add the oil and whisk to make an emulsion. Thicken it by whisking in the cream and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Trim the base of the chicory bulbs and break off the leaves whole. Put a couple of tablespoons of the dressing in a large bowl and add the chicory, tossing it to coat very
lightly but thoroughly (easiest with your hands).
Scatter with the hazelnuts and Stilton and serve.
A few edible flowers, in season, can look attractive … try borage, viola or chive flowers or go for broke and use nasturtiums for maximum colour contrast.