Chicory Salad with Quince and Pecans
- TOTAL TIME: 40 MIN
- SERVINGS: 12
New Orleans chef John Besh says the combination of a bitter green with a sweet fruit and a strong cheese is a personal favorite of his. The version here features fresh quince, a winter fruit that's like a cross between an apple and a pear. If fresh quince is unavailable in the produce section, Besh suggests trying preserved quince from a jar.
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- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and very finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 cinnamon stick
- 2 quinces—peeled, cored and thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 cups pecan halves (6 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup walnut oil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 1/2 pounds chicory, stems discarded and leaves torn into bite-size pieces (16 cups)
- 1 cup crumbled blue cheese (4 ounces)
- Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large saucepan, combine the water with the cider vinegar, brown sugar, jalapeño, ginger, coriander, cinnamon stick and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Add the sliced quince, cover and simmer over low heat until they are tender, about 15 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the poached quince to a small bowl. Discard the quince poaching liquid.
- Meanwhile, spread the pecan halves on a rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Bake for about 7 minutes, until the pecans are toasted.
- In a small bowl, stir the sherry and red wine vinegar with the vegetable oil, walnut oil and sugar. Season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper.
- In a large salad bowl, toss the chicory with the quince, pecans and blue cheese. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well. Serve right away.