Griddled chicory with Gorgonzola dressing

This was a recipe I planned to use as a first course but with sourdough bread it was really substantial and I was too full to eat anything else. It’s based on a Jamie Oliver recipe which uses radicchio (which I couldn’t find so I used chicory instead) and raisins (which I didn’t have in stock so used sultanas instead). Jamie serves his version as a salad with all the leaves separate in a bowl, but I kept the chicory intact.

There is a lovely mix of textures and flavours here – the sweetness of the sultanas against the tang of the blue cheese dressing and the crunchiness of the pine nuts with the crisp, refreshing juiciness of the chicory.

It’s really quick to make – less than 15 minutes if you get organised and costs less than £2 per person (including the sourdough bread – a perfect accompaniment).

Serves two.

Ingredients

  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • Olive oil for frying
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin oil for the dressing
  • 2 tablespoons sultanas
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 50g Gorgonzola cheese
  • I tablespoon of lemon juice
  • Splash of cold water
  • 2 heads of chicory, each cut in half
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Peel and finely chop the onion. Drizzle a little olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and place over a medium-low heat. Sauté the onion for 10 minutes, or until soft and sticky but not coloured.
  2. Add the sultanas to the pan and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes, then add the vinegar. Take the pan off the heat.
  3. Crumble the cheese into a blender and add the lemon juice. Pour in a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, season well, add a splash of water and blitz into a smooth, creamy dressing.
  4. Place a griddle pan over a high heat and leave for a few minutes to get scorching hot before cooking the chicory, flat side down, for about five minutes, then turn over for another five minutes. You want the chicory to be soft but not over cooked.
  5. Toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan.
  6. Remove the chicory to a plate, spoon over the onion mixture and scatter in the toasted pine nuts. Transfer to a platter or plate and drizzle over the gorgonzola dressing.

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