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Quince and sweet Gorgonzola salad

When I cooked this recipe, I adapted it. I substituted Cranberry juice for the wine used to poach the quince; I used a cheese other than Gorgonzola; and I toasted pecans that I already had in the fridge, instead of the pistachios designated in the recipe. I am giving the original recipe here, from the cookbook Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi. You could really adapt it in any way you choose, as I had done. Enjoy!
Course Salad
Cuisine Vegetarian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Author Yotam Ottolenghi; Cookbook: Plenty, Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London's Ottolenghi

Ingredients

  • 1-¾ cups water
  • 1-½ cups sugar
  • 15 black peppercorns
  • 4 strips of orange zest
  • 2 bay leaves
  • juice of ½ lemon/3/4 cup red wine
  • 2 medium quinces
  • 1 teaspoon grainy mustard
  • 2 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 4 tablespoon olive oil plus extra to finish
  • salt and black pepper
  • 2-½ cups mixed leaves such as mizuna, dandelion, watercress or radicchio di Treviso
  • 4 to 5 ox. Gorgonzola
  • scant ½ cup shelled unsalted pistachios lightly toasted, some whole and some roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F. Take a medium-sized heavy pan that can go in the oven and for which you have a tight-fitting lid. Place inside the water, sugar, peppercorns, orange zest, bay leaves, lemon juice and red wine. Set on the stove and bring to a light simmer. As soon as the sugar dissolves, remove from the heat.
  2. Meanwhile, use a vegetable peeler to peel the quinces; keep the skin. With a heavy knife, cut the fruit vertically into quarters and remove the core; keep this too. Cut each quarter into two segments. Place the quince segments, plus the skins and cores, in the sugar syrup. Cover the pan and put it into the oven to cook for about 2 hours. After this time the quince should be completely tender. Remove from the oven and leave to cool, uncovered.
  3. Whisk together until smooth the mustard, vinegar, oil, 4 tablespoons of the quince cooking liquid, ½ teaspoon salt and a good grind of black pepper.
  4. To finish the salad, place some salad leaves on four serving plates. Arrange four quince segments per portion and some hand-broken pieces of Gorgonzola on the leaves. Try to build the salad up. Place a few more leaves on top. Spoon the dressing over and scatter over the pistachios. Finish with a light drizzle of olive oil. Alternatively, arrange similarly in a large, central mixing bowl and bring to the table.