This is particularly dangerous when I buy good cheese. I’m not talking about a hunk of parmigiano, which even I realize that I shouldn’t really be snacking on all day long. But when, for some reason, there is a soft and runny taleggio, or an especially nutty piece of oak leaf-wrapped pecorino, it’s really hard to forget it’s just sitting there in the fridge. Lonely. Calling my name.
One of the ways I trick myself into not eating the full chunk-o-goodness myself, is to work it into some sort of recipe. At least that way I am forced to share. While I’ve been known to stir smoked provola into pasta and use cacciomagno in frittata, the most guilt assuaging and democratic way to eat cheese is, of course, in a salad.
Because salad is good for you, right?
I decided to saladize a truly amazing piece of Stilton I had bought the other day. I picked it up at Eataly, which has a pretty great cheese department, especially English cheeses. This piece of Stilton was, at least in my eyes, irresistible.
After beginning to nibble away at it, on it’s own, I decided it would go perfectly with the massive head of escarole that Domenico brought home last week. While I had sent him to the farmer’s market with the specific instructions to come home with some tender romaine lettuces I had found the week before, he got a bit confused and came home with the an escarole I could barely fit in the fridge.
While I don’t mind cooking with escarole, it’s not my favorite go to green for salads. The dark green outer leaves are just too tough for my liking, and sometimes a bit bitter. But once I trimmed those away, I reached the inner core, which had barely seen the sun and so was yellow, sweet and very tender.
Similarly I got to the heart of a massive bunch of celery he’d also returned home with, chopping up only the pale green inner stalks and leaves.
And because I can’t think about any blue cheese without also thinking of apples and nuts, I threw in an annurca and a handful of roasted almonds.
Dressed with some balsamic vinegar and olive oil, the salad was hearty enough, with a piece of bread, to be lunch on it’s own. And while I did end up eating a good portion of the cheese, I was doing so along with a bunch of healthy vegetables and fruits.
escarole and blue cheese salad
(serves 2 as main, 4 as starter)
1 Escarole heart, about 4 cups torn leaves
Crumbly blue cheese*
4-5 inner stalks of celery and leaves
1/4 cup roasted almonds, chopped
good quality balsamic vinegar
*I used Stilton, but of course any good blue will do: gorgonzola, or roquefort, for instance
Open up you escarole until you get to the tender, lighter colored, central leaves. Rinse, dry and tear them up into a large bowl.
Chop the celery, along with the leaves and add.
Crumble the cheese, and sprinkle on top.
Peel, core and slice the apple into small pieces and add to salad. Add chopped almonds.