My February kitchen has not been much to write home about. Though I resolved to try 10 new recipes from neglected cookbooks, I often end up eating leftover cake for supper (hurrah for being a grown-up) or a plain salad to balance out the cake (curses on adult responsability).
There was a whole mackerel roasted with lemon and a particularly nice dinner among girlfriends with beef, apricot and spinach meatballs simmered in tomato sauce – but that is all self-explanatory.
I can only offer this salad, in imitation of a wonderful Lyonnais bistro in St-Germain, whose address I will be not sharing (bribes notwithstanding) because it was too full and their seven-hour lamb was too delicious.
Endives can be jarring – too bitter, too teeth-squeakingly watery. But here, sliced as finely as coleslaw, they are the the star of the plate, crunchy but delicate, spotlit by a mustard dressing. Its subtle colours – cream, pale green. mottled blue – hide a wallop of flavour: bitter endive, sweet pear, sharp cheese. It is a wintery salad full of promise, for crunch and light and better things to come.
Pear, endive and blue cheese salad
serves 4 as a starter
4 large endives
2 crisp, slightly unripe conference pears
200g blue cheese
3 tbs olive oil
2 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
a pinch of pepper
Halve and core the pears. Slice them and the endives as thinly as possible. Shake the dressing ingredients in a jar, toss most of it with the salad, add more to taste. Crumble the blue cheese over the top.