My good friend Gwen, who's had a significant influence on me in the food department since we met back in 1982, brought this salad (or a variation thereof) to a BBQ at a mutual friend's house many moons ago; and I've been making it ever since. We eat it as a meal at lunch--we might today, in fact, as I have all of the ingredients in the house--as well as after dinner. When Christian was in first grade and asked to write about his favorite food, this salad was his topic of choice. Not all of my kids share his love of the blue cheese, so I serve it on the side. I've substituted apple for pear when I don't have the latter, and dried cranberries for the apricots; but my absolute favorite version is the one below. As youngsters, my kids found extra-virgin olive oil a bit heavy on their salads, so I usually use a lighter one, like avocado oil. I always prepare the dressing in the bottom of my wooden salad bowl and let it set until just before meal time, at which point I throw the salad ingredients atop the dressing. Only when we're finished with dinner and ready to start the salad course do I toss the salad with the dressing.
Note: I sometimes add a handful or two of arugula to this salad to give it a little bit of a bite, as I did here.
Makes 6 Servings
- 4-5 endive heads (depending on their size), sliced lengthwise and then crosswise
- 1 Bartlett pear, cored and chopped
- Handful of California apricots, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts (or sometimes I leave them whole)
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 large shallot, minced
- Stilton or other blue cheese of your choice
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch of salt, if you like
- Combine oil, vinegar, mustard and shallots in bowl and whisk well. (You can do this in a separate bowl or in the bottom of your salad bowl.)
- Place the endive, pear, apricots and walnuts in salad bowl. Toss with dressing just before ready to serve. Top salad with slices or crumbled cheese and freshly ground black pepper.