I love a good cheese plate. This is a very refined way of eating a cheese plate because you can't gorge yourself on the good stuff. And by good stuff I mean, divine, delectable, fatty, artery clogging cheese. This salad is individually plated, giving the eater a controlled portion of decadent cheese. All the standard cheese plate elements are here, cheese, grapes, nuts and dried fruit, all tied together with an elegant bitter salad. It's a beautiful salad with great contrasting sweet/bitter flavours, enhanced with a lemony vinaigrette.
Endive and Radicchio, Cheese Plate Salad
Origin: Adapted from, Anna Olsen, Food Network Canada
Notes: You can jazz up the look of your plates by peeling away some whole leaves from your radicchio and endive before you chop it. The leaves can be artfully arranged on a plate or a large platter. You can use a radicchio leaf as a bowl for the dressed greens and arrange the other elements around it. Please use whatever cheese you like, it should be a fancy cheese, but an aged cheddar or a brie would be great with this too.
4 dried apricots, finely chopped
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1/2 head radicchio, core removed, sliced into 1/2 inch ribbons
1 head Belgian Endive, trim bottom, slice into 1/2 inch pieces
1 stalk celery, sliced thinly on the bias
1/2 Bartlett pear, cored and sliced thinly 12 seedless red grapes, cut in half
1/2 cup walnut pieces, lightly toasted
6 ounces Oka cheese (or other ripe, washed-rind cheese), cut into individual portions
For the vinaigrette, soak chopped apricots in hot water for 2 minutes to soften, then drain and stir in lemon zest and set aside. Whisk together the lemon juice and Dijon, then slowly pour in the olive oil, whisking to emulsify. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in chopped apricots and chives.
To assemble salad, combine endive, radicchio and celery in a bowl and toss with 1/2 the vinaigrette.
Spoon salad onto each plate and arrange some pear, grapes and walnuts on top. Drizzle these items with a little more vinaigrette. Arrange cheese slices beside salad and serve.
Serves 4, lightly.