Spring is finally here. English rocket and watercress are now in the shops, and are
delicious added to this recipe from the Spring section of my latest book
Simply Veg: A Modern Guide to Everyday Eating (see Books page).
British-grown pears, such as Doyenne du Comice, Concorde and
Conference, store well through the winter months and taste lovely in the
spring, if left to ripen in the kitchen. Serve as a starter or in place of a
2 tablespoons walnut oil + extra for oiling
170g/6oz ripe creamy British blue cheese, such as Stichelton
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 ripe pears
2 ½ tablespoons lemon
55g/2oz rocket leaves
55g/2oz red beet leaves
55g/2oz walnut kernels
1 Preheat the oven to fan 200ºC/gas 7. Lightly oil a small baking dish with the
walnut oil. Remove the rind from the
cheese and place in a bowl. Mash
vigorously and season to taste with freshly ground black pepper.
2 Peel the first pear. Cut in half lengthways and, using a small
sharp knife, cut out the core and seeds from each half so you have a neat
cavity, removing the calyx and, if wished, the stem as you do so. Place 2 tablespoons lemon juice in a small
bowl, and toss the pear prepared pear halves in the juice. Repeat with the remaining pears.
3 Arrange the pear halves in the baking dish,
cut-side up, and stuff their cavities with the mashed cheese. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes,
or until the pears are lightly cooked and covered in bubbling cheese.
4 Place the salad leaves and walnut kernels
in a mixing bowl. Once the pears are
ready, add ½ tablespoon lemon juice, 2
tablespoons walnut oil and season to taste.
5 Divide the cooked pears between 4 plates. Add an airy pile of salad to each plate and