Today's recipe for blue cheese salad dressing is from the mouth-watering cookbook, Cowgirl Creamery Cooks, by Sue Conley and Peggy Smith. This homage to the crafting, selecting, tasting, cooking and enjoying of cheese is right up my cheesy street. There is plenty of great advice about how to really detect the nuances of fine cheeses (more on that in a future post!), but also fabulous recipes all focused on my very favourite of ingredients. Cheese. Did you guess that I really like cheese?
The real name for this recipe is Nancy Knickerbocker's Blue Cheese & Shallot Vinaigrette - who could resist a name like that?! Certainly not someone called Nancy.
I spent some years living in North America, where blue cheese dips and dressings are much more popular than in the UK. Although I can do without the buffalo wings, I am a convert to the dip.
This dressing is chunky rather than a blended, with the focus squarely on the blue cheese. There are a couple of vinegars and some shallot for a little extra tang and nuance and a few chives for freshness, but the cheese really is where it's at. This is my way of telling you that this recipe requires a lovely cheese. (Or perhaps it's all recipes require a lovely cheese...)
I used a nice piece of Stilton, but something soft like a sweet Gorgonzola would also be lovely.
Although you can serve this dressing with any kind of greens you want, I think it works particularly well with Belgian endive - currently in season - which lends a bitter note to the meal.
So with savoury, salty, tangy and bitter on the plate, the only element missing for balance is a little sweetness. Although I am not often moved to pair fruit with cheese, I think that the deeply salty umami of blue cheese goes extremely well with some contrasting sweetness, so for today I have gone for some crunchy slices of honeyed pear. Also in season!
Tart and piquant. Savoury and cheesy. Zingy and fresh. Bitter and sweet. Bags of flavour with plenty of satisfying seasonal crunch.
Blue cheese salad dressing
- 1 large shallot very finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar I used cider balsamic
- pinch salt
- pinch pepper
- 75 g olive oil
- 85 g blue cheese I used Stilton
- 2 heads Belgian endive leaves separated (if using)
- 2 pears sliced (if using)
- Mix the shallot with both vinegars. While whisking, slowly add the olive oil. Crumble in the blue cheese and stir to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve piled on leaves of Belgian endive and slices of crisp, ripe pear.