I love cheese. I love cheese with an unhealthy passion and have to ration it for my own health. And cheese and fruit… yum. Why did it take me so long to realise that cheddar was meant to be with crunchy apples, that grapes really were more than just decoration on a cheese board? And why oh why did I labour so long under the misapprehension that Spain had better things to do than make cheese? Nutty, buttery manchego is ridiculously good; I usually have to buy more than I need to account for all the times I walk past the fridge and take a nibble.
Yes, I was for too slow to catch on to the fact that a chunk of aged manchego and a ripe pear is all it takes to make me happy. And I certainly wouldn’t turn away a good cheddar (Godminster’s really rather wonderful) and a Braeburn, soft goat’s cheese and raspberries or Somerset brie and grapes. So this salad is a wonderful platform for the sweet, nutty, fruity combination of aged manchego, fresh autumn pears and chestnuts set off by a zippy cider vinegar dressing. I suspect some cooked beetroot or even some crispy bacon crumbles would be good additions, I’ll be trying them out next weekend.
Chestnut, pear and manchego salad
- 1 small, ripe pear
- 50g aged manchego (or another nutty cheese)
- a handful of cooked, peeled chestnuts (vacuum packed are easiest)
- mixed salad leaves
- 1 tbsp neutral oil
- ½-1tbsp cider vinegar
- salt and pepper
If the pear has tough skin peel before slicing into 12.
Cut the cheese into similarly sized wedges.
Place the salad leaves on a plate and arrange the cheese, pear and chestnuts over the top.
Make a dressing by mixing the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Drizzle over the salad and serve immediately.