Serves 4 as starter or tapa

This seasonal salad is inspired by the flavours of Italy. Trevise is a wonderful fleshy lettuce with a unique bitter-sweet flavour that is only available during the winter months – although you could substitute radicchio which is readily available year-round. The salad uses sweet, caramelized pears and an unusual dressing made from chestnut honey. We finish the dish with shaved fresh chestnuts for a nutty edge and pungent marjoram for its heady aroma and flavour. The addition of salty gorgonzola and croutons would make this into a substantial lunch.

Ingredients

1 large head trevise, stem removed, leaves cut roughly
1 small Packham pear, peeled, quartered, core removed
1 large pinch caster sugar for caramelising the pears
1 handful wild rocket leaves, trimmed, washed
1 chestnut, fresh or tinned, shelled, sliced very finely
1 teaspoon marjoram leaves

For the dressing:

1 tablespoon chestnut honey
1 small teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Moscatel vinegar
2½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
A squeeze of lemon juice
Sea salt and black pepper

Heat a non-stick pan over a medium heat. Add the pears and a sprinkling of caster sugar. Toss the pears to coat with the sugar, and cook, moving the pears about the pan, until the sugar starts to caramelise. Turn down the heat and cook until the pears have softened and are nicely golden brown. Remove the pears from the pan and cool. Once cooled, slice each quarter into four.

Whisk together the honey and mustard in a bowl, and then whisk in the vinegar followed by the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. If the dressing looks too thick, add a splash of warm water.

Place the trevise and rocket in a mixing bowl and season well. Toss the leaves together and add the marjoram, sliced chestnut and pear and then the vinaigrette. Toss together again and check the seasoning, before dividing the salad between serving plates.

A Friulano white wine from Northeast Italy will be a perfect pairing.

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