This is my favourite season and I am here for it, including all the wonderful produce it has to offer. I am already starting to line up a few of my favourite autumnal recipes. This Autumn salad with pear, blue cheese and blackberry dressing is a good transition between seasons.
For this recipe, I made a dressing using blackberry syrup and drizzled it over a crisp salad of mixed leaves, sliced pears, crumbly blue cheese and toasted hazelnuts. The combination of flavours works really well and this Autumn salad is perfect as a starter or side dish.
Do you like blackberries?
Have you ever tried them in savoury dishes?
Ingredients (serve 4 people as a side or a starter)
100g mixed salad leaves
2 pears (sliced)
100g blue cheese* (crumbled)
40g blanched hazelnuts
blackberry dressing (see recipe below)
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan). Put the hazelnuts on a baking tray on the middle shelf of your oven. Roast for 10 minutes. Transfer the hazelnuts into a bowl to cool down. Chop roughly and set aside.
2. Put the mixed salad leaves, pear slices, crumbled blue cheese and chopped roasted hazelnuts in a large salad bowl and toss them together.
3. Divide the salad between four small plates or bowls and drizzle with the blackberry dressing (or leave the dressing in a small jug on the table for people to help themselves).
* I used Young Buck, a vegetarian blue cheese made here in Northern Ireland. Some other blue cheeses might be made using animal rennets so check the ingredients for a vegetarian option.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
For the blackberry syrup*
2 tablespoons caster sugar
100ml cold water
Make Ahead - Blackberry Syrup*
1. Put the blackberries, sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium to hight heat. Bring to a boil while stirring to dissolve the sugar.
2. Reduce the heat and simmer while stirring occasionally for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the syrup has thickened a bit.
3. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a jug. Push the mixture to extract all the syrup. Cool down at room temperature, cover and keep in the fridge for up to a week.
Blackberry Dressing (double the ingredients if you want more dressing with your salad)
Mix the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, one tablespoon of blackberry syrup and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Transfer into a serving jug.
• Yes, that is more blackberry syrup than you need for the dressing. Use the leftover syrup to drizzle over yogurt and granola for breakfast, or mix in a cocktail.