This pretty salad recipe is based on a dish I enjoyed in Provence, where fresh apricots were stuffed with cream cheese, almonds, sultanas, blanched nettles, herbs and the local goat's cheese, Picodon. The apricots were then decorated with edible flowers and served as part of a "meze" style lunch.
125g herb and garlic cream cheese
2 x small fresh Picodon cheese (or similar small fresh goats cheese weighing 70g)
2 tablespoons fresh chives, parsley and savory (finely chopped)
25g dried sour cherries (plus extra for garnish)
25g toasted flaked almonds (plus extra for garnish)
selection of edible flowers (I used nasturtiums, mallow, violas and borage)
Arrange the lettuce leaves in a large serving platter or 6 individual plates.
Mix the cream cheese with 1 of the Picodon cheeses, the herbs, dried sour cherries and flaked toasted almonds, mix well, and season to taste with sea salt and pepper if desired.
Fill the apricot halves with the cream cheese filing and sit them on top of the salad, with the remaining Picodon cheese in the middle. (or divided into 6 for individual plates) Decorate the stuffed apricot halves and salad with the edible flowers.
Make the dressing by blending all the ingredients together, then drizzle it over the stuffed apricots and salad.
Scatter some dried sour cherries and toasted almond flakes over the top and serve with chilled white wine and crusty bread.
Serves 4 to 6 people as a starter or a light luncheon dish.