Fresh and green, sweet or spicy… salads are summer’s coolest quick fix. The whole point of a salad is its freshness – tender, crisp green leaves to cleanse and refresh the palate. And of course the simple ease of whipping up a well-rounded meal in a matter of minutes. Lazy days indeed. The ultimate high-summer salad is at its best eaten outside under the cool shade of a luscious tree.

When building up a salad, for each strongly flavoured ingredient, try to find something mild, cool and refreshing as a contrast. The ever so slightly decadent walnut and blue cheese in this salad are well balanced with the crunchy slightly bitter endive leaves and brightened by the refreshing crunch of celery. This bright tasting and lip-smacking bowl of freshness make a lunch that is neither too filling nor time consuming, and make a great supper curled up in front of the TV.

Walnut salad with blue cheese dressing

Serves 6

  • 150g walnuts
  • 1T olive oil
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 100g Blue Cheese (Roquefort or Gorgonzola)
  • 200ml crème fraîche
  • 50 ml cream
  • handful of wild rocket
  • handful of new celery leaves
  • 2 endive, sliced in thin slivers
  • handful of radicchio, sliced in thin slivers

Warm the olive oil in a saucepan, then toss the walnuts and the sugar together in the oil until the sugar begins to melt. Keep stirring until the sugar caramelises completely and covers the walnuts. Take care not to burn the walnuts. Spoon the nuts onto a well-oiled or buttered surface and allow them to cool a little before you are tempted to taste them!

For the dressing, place 30g of the blue cheese, crème fraîche and cream in a mixing bowl and work it through with a fork until it reaches a lovely velvety texture.

Assemble the salad by tossing all the fresh ingredients together onto a large platter. Break the rest of the cheese into bite-sized bits using your fingers, and spoon the dressing over the salad.

Garnish with the sweet walnuts and enjoy with a glass of Chardonnay!

 

Note:

As a truly passionate gourmand with an unquenchable yen for travelling, Marlene van der Westhuizen has spent the larger part of three decades cooking her way around the world, with a particular emphasis on France and its exceptional cuisine. What started as food demonstrations and gatherings around her kitchen table in Cape Town, soon turned into guided tours to an ancient village in the middle of the Auvergne, where she introduces spellbound audiences to the essence of French cooking with her week long cooking classes. This recipe was taken from her book Secrets of a French Cooking Class published by Bookstorm where she chronicles her cooking adventures in Charroux.

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Production: Eatsplorer | Photography: Deryck van Steenderen

 

 

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