~ Seasonal fragrance and flavour from my country kitchens in England and France....celebrating local seasonal produce with traditional feasts and festivals, culinary notes, reviews, recipes and musings from home and abroad....whilst preparing family food with flair ~
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Figs, Raspberries and Pears, Autumn Harvest Salad for an Indian Summer Lunch
In this modern consumer driven age of perfectly shaped fruit with nary a blemish, I find it liberating and slightly rebellious to break free and cook with all of the freshly picked fruit from the garden ~ fruit, that horror of horrors may have a bruise or have fallen to the earth before plucking it from the tree; fruit that still have the bloom of the heat on them and that roll around with merriment in my ancient old wooden crate, jostling for position with other fallen berries and those pears of a certain age. Fruit, and be prepared to be horrified, that may have had insects on them whilst wending their way through their small and short lives. We have become so detached from nature and how our produce is actually grown, that I have actually seen the horror on some of my guest’s faces when they are offered a warm fig from the tree ~ the lack of a Styrofoam tray fills them with a deep sense of insecurity, and I often find the offending fruit in the bin……shocking isn’t it?
Why I am ranting about this you may wonder, well it’s my pears of a certain age that has brought this on; as you can see from my photos, they are not quite perfect on the outside ~ a wee bit weather worn with the odd brown laughter line here and there…….a supermarket reject no doubt. But look, inside they are perfect, white and juicy and full of the Autumn sunshine……..how sad it is that millions of kilos of fruit like my pears of a certain age are discarded every year because they don’t quite make the “perfect” grade and actually remind us of where they came from, a tree OUTSIDE in the open air! I am proud to post photos of my golden autumn pears and will continue to fight to uphold the benefits of slightly blemished but beautiful fruit……will you join me?
This salad is a real Autumn Harvest salad and I am proud to say that all of the fruits I have used are home-grown. I would be quite happy to eat this sans meat, but my husband likes meat so to appease his carnivorous appetite I added a few slices of real Spanish chorizo sausage. I used two types of cheese, Roquefort and Brebis sheep’s milk cheese from the Pyrénées. The fruity dressing is made with raspberry vinegar, again, home-made and I will post the recipe later on this week. This is my idea of heaven on a plate for this unusually hot October we are having ~ even the colours seem to represent the season but in a sunny way…..golds, russets, ruby reds and Bordeaux wine colours…..the combination of flavours and textures is exceptional. If like me you can do without the meat, just ditch the chorizo and add a smidge more cheese. And, please don’t forget to adopt some blemished fruit for this salad too……after all, fruit is for all year and not just summer!
I hope there is enough of this Indian Summer weather left this week so you can enjoy this salad or indeed any salad sitting outside, maybe under the trees with the bees humming you to sleep……Bon Appétit!
A delightful salad for those last lingering days of sunshine and a wonderful way to use the last of your fruit harvest in an elegant and tasty way……serve with the ubiquitous crusty bread and maybe a glass of Chardonnay or Chablis.
~ Serves 2 ~
2 ripe pears of a certain age, peeled and cut into quarters
8 figs, with a late bloom, cut in half
A handful of ripe, late raspberries
50g (2ozs) blue cheese, mature of course, cut into small pieces
50g (2ozs) brebis (sheep’s milk) or goat’s cheese, cut into small pieces
salad leaves, young and fresh this time!
50g (2ozs) chorizo sausage, sliced thinly
4 tablespoons rape seed oil or olive oil
2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Arrange the salad leaves on a plate ~ this makes a nice sharing platter, so use a large plate or two smaller ones.
Arrange the fruit, chorizo and cheese over the top.
Put the dressing ingredients into a jar or bottle and shake well.
Drizzle dressing over the salad and serve straight away.