I guess by now it’s pretty obvious that I love the combination of fruit with savoury flavours. Like the rhubarb and thyme combination in my goat’s cheese & rhubarb parcels, strawberry and basil in the asparagus-strawberry salad with za’atar-goat’s cheese ‘gnocchi’ or blueberries and pink pepper like in my purslane salad with blueberries. But when I look at all these recipes what holds them together and to what my mind seems always to be drawn is the cheese. It’s no secret that I love cheese, especially goat’s cheese. For me it’s not the cheese that becomes even better when combined with fruit, but the fruit that’s even more delicious together with some cheese. I’m think of peaches and creamy goat’s cheese….mmhhh.
However I’ve not always been so cheese obsessed. Like many children I despised blue cheese, even thought it to be quite disgusting. Now it’s one of my absolute favourite foods around – the stronger the better. And oh my god, this dressing is DE-LI-CIOUS. Depending on your taste, you can vary the cheese to get a more mild or a sharper flavour. The creaminess of the dressing goes very well along with the nutty freekeh, while the dandelion’s bitterness and the sweet, yet tangy berries cut through its richness.
No one had to convince me to love berries though. Even if I’d be very hard pressed, I’m not sure that I could name a favourite. Even among white, red and black currants I could not possibly choose. For this salad I waa looking for a light colour combination of all shades white and green.
Grilling lettuce might seem a little weird at first, but you will soon agree, that it’s a very good idea indeed. In winter I already made something similar when I caramelized chicory (Caramelized chicory citrus salad), now it’s the romaine’s turn.
Grilled romaine with Roquefort dressing & white currants
2 romaine lettuce hearts
1 bunch of dandelion leaves (can be replaced with rucola or other bitter greens)
80g freekeh (or spelt berries)
a handful white currants
1 small avocado
1 tbsp olive oil
freshly ground black pepper and sea salt to taste
100g Roquefort (or the blue cheese)
2 tbsp olive oil
juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp water
freshly ground black pepper to taste
If possible, soak the freekeh overnight (read more it about why soaking grains is a good idea here). Cook it using fresh water until tender, but still has got some crunch, which should take about 25 minutes.
Slice the avocado. I always like to ‘marinate’ it during the time it takes to make my salads with a drizzle of lemon juice and some salt (but remember that the Roquefort dressing is rather salty already).
If you want to grill the romaine outdoors, get the barbecue going to medium heat. Half the romaine lettuce lengthwise thereby being careful to leave the halves as intact as possible. Wash the romaine halves and the dandelion and pat dry. Brush the romaine with the olive oil and slightly rub with a little salt and pepper. Place the halves, cut-side down, either on the barbecue or in a grill pan. Grill the romaine on medium heat, turning once until nicely charred for about 5 minutes.
Set a little bit of the cheese aside to sprinkle over the salad at the end. To make the dressing, simply mash the rest of Roquefort with a fork. Add the other ingredients and whisk together.
To assemble, mix the dandelion leaves with the freekeh and a bit of the dressing. Top with the romaine halves and the avocado. Drizzle more dressing on top and sprinkle with Roquefort crumbs, the white currants and coarse black pepper.