This light salad is refreshingly crisp and a delightfully crunchy addition to any meal. Packed with delicate and aromatic flavours perfect for those sunnier days; I find the blue cheese perfectly complements the beautiful aniseed flavours in the fennel and the pine nuts add a gorgeous crunch and sweetness to the dish.

Stilton salad with fennel and pine nuts

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • ½ bunch of flat parsley (approx. 15g)
  • ½ bunch of chives
  • ¼ bunch of coriander
  • 2 large bulbs of fennel
  • 30g pine nuts
  • 70g Stilton
  • 1 Tsp aged balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Method

  1. Pick the best looking leaves off the parsley and coriander bunch and place them in large bowl with ice cold water.
  2. Rinse the fennel bulbs before finely slicing them lengthways; using a mandolin will make your life a lot easier (but be careful of your fingers).
  3. Place all the fennel shavings in the iced water together with the freshly picked herbs in order to crisp up. After a couple of minutes dry everything off in a salad spinner.
  4. Give a quick rinse to the chives and slice into small 1cm “sticks”.
  5. Throw the pine nuts in a dry frying pan and cook over a medium to low heat, stirring frequently until golden brown. After 3 to 4 minutes remove the nuts from the heat and leave to cool down on a paper towel.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice and olive oil with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  7. Pour the dressing all over the fennel salad and mix well. Delicately crumble the stilton on top of the salad and sprinkle the pine nuts and chives all over.

Matching wines

The aniseed flavour of this salad has a pronounced affinity with Muscadet. Intense and grown-up in flavour, I suggest a Domaine la Haute Févrie, Gras Moutons, Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur Lie 2013. This reasonable white wine from the Loire region is full of subtle smoky aromas perfect to match this rustic salad.

For another classic pairing with fennel why not try a Marc Dudet, Pouilly Fuissé 2009? This light Chardonnay portrays Burgundian minerality at its best. Although a little more mature, this wine is still crisp and fresh just like this salad.

Fennel is one of the handfuls of vegetables that particularly suit Italian white wines. I personally enjoy a La Monacesca, Mirum, Verdicchio di Matelica Riserva, Marche 2012. This perfectly balanced white wine is bursting with smoky and nutty flavours, hence the perfect match for rich blue cheese.

Wines to drink with stilton salad with fennel and pine nuts

Domaine la Haute Févrie, Gras Moutons, Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur Lie 2013

The crisp, light flavours of this wine work perfectly with this summery and fresh salad.  Delicate citrus notes of grapefruit, this white has great length and rich mineral undertones.

RRP : £11.95 from Berry Bros & Rudd

Marc Dudet, Pouilly Fuissé 2009

Beautifully light on the palette with delicate peachy overtones, this Chardonnay is fruity with subtle nutty notes that complement the pine nuts and aromatic flavours of the fennel.

RRP : £14.74 from Vivino

La Monacesca, Mirum, Verdicchio di Matelica Riserva, Marche 2012

Full of body and rich in flavour, the depth of this wine makes it the perfet partner to the strong falvours f the stilton and fennel.  Lemony and fresh, this white is smoky and nutty on the nose but balanced with a honey sweetness.

RRP : £21.20 from Berry Bro & Rudd

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