There are some things that just strike you as being astonishingly simple, yet brilliantly devised. For example, the interface of an iPod- the way you use it – is unbelievably clever in its design. One “wheel” and one button, and that’s it. Everyone – even me – can figure it out in about 8 seconds. It’s genius at its best.
Similarly, a salad my new man-crush Jose Andres made on his show Jose Made in Spain just struck me as at once achingly simple, and yet wonderfully sophisticated. Cheese, fruit and nuts, and that’s it.
Regular readers will know that we are big fans of the phenomenon that is cabrales cheese (non-regular readers should read this post before proceeding any further with this one, as it’s important to know the ingredient you’re dealing with) but we’ve yet to include it in any of our cooking. Here was an opportunity to incorporate perhaps the world’s wildest cheese into a dish so cunning that, to mix a metaphor, you could cut yourself on it.
Seriously, you might think I’m exaggerating here, but quite apart from that not being what we do here at We Are Never Full (we keep it real, believe), I am not exaggerating one bit. This was the best salad I’ve had in a very, very long time. And, while we wouldn’t normally insult your intelligence by pretending to tell you how to put a salad together, we’re asking you to bear with us here and read on. You’ll be glad you did.
We’ve decided to submit this recipe to Kalyn at Kalyn’s Cooking (a most excellent blog) for her Weekend Herb Blogging series. This time around it’s being hosted by Jugalbandi, so head over there before 3PM today to submit yours!
Ensalada de Cabrales (for 2 people)
1 large apple – gala, fuji, granny smith, golden delicious, but not McIntosh type
2oz strong cabrales or your favorite blue cheese
3 hazelnuts (shelled, roasted, but unsalted)
1tbsp good cider vinegar
3tbsp your best olive oil
1 tsp finely chopped chives
salt & black pepper
Peel and core apple, then using a mandolin (if you have one, otherwise your trusty chef’s knife will suffice) slice the apple to a uniform thickness of about 1/4 inch (1/2cm)
Arrange apples on serving dish however you like and crumble over the cheese. Feel free to use more, but you easily be over-generous with cabrales, so beware.
Combine oil, vinegar, salt & pepper (as a vinaigrette) and spoon liberally over apples and cheese.
Then, take your microplane grater or the fine side of your box grater and grate your hazelnuts. Sprinkle this “hazelnut salt” followed by the chives over your salad and serve immediately.
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