I don’t normally post recipes that include dairy products as they don’t like me! But I do sometimes eat a little sheep’s cheese; over the years I’ve found that I can get away with a small amount as a special treat and, as sheep’s blue cheeses, such as Roquefort, pack such a flavour punch, a little is really all you need. If you live in Cumbria then Shills normally have a selection of local(ish) sheep’s blue cheeses such as Crozier Blue and my favourite, Mrs Bell’s Blue. Both will work really well in this recipe.
|1 very firm Roca pear
4 handfuls watercress
20 walnut halves
large handful of pitted green olives, sliced
100g Roquefort or other strong sheep’s blue cheese
Large handful of mint leaves
3 tbsps. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 tsp. honey
1tsp. Dijon mustard
Sea-salt & freshly ground black pepper
Before starting to prepare the salad pop the cheese into the freezer for 15 minutes or so. Next, divide the watercress between 4 plates. Core the pears with an apple corer (leave the skin on though) and then finely slice the pears; I use a mandoline on it’s finest setting so that my slices are wafer thin. Scatter the pear slices on top of the watercress. Remove the cheese from the freezer and cut into slithers using a very sharp knife or you could even try using a cheese slicer. Scatter the shaving of Roquefort over the salad along with 5 walnut halves per plate and some olive slices. Mix together the dressing ingredients with a hand whisk – take care not to over blend or the dressing will become gloopy! When you are ready to serve this starter drizzle the dressing around each plate in an arc and then let a few drops fall onto the plate (well, that’s if you want to look like you’re heading for a Michelin star!) So easy, so delicious and, I think, quite stylish!