Chicory with cheese and pecans recipe

Recipe by Neil Morris - 15 October 2012

chicory with cheese

Region: Asturias

Preparation: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes

Difficulty: easy

Serves: 2-4

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This simple chicory and cheese tapas recipe is served in many tapas bars across Spain. It can be made with any good blue cheese but I prefer to use the Picos blue variety from Asturias as it brings so much strength and creamy flavour to the dish. As a result I have attributed this dish to the region of Asturias although its true origins are unclear.

There are many versions of this dish which add cream and other herbs and spices but if you are using picos blue and very good olive oil there is really no need to complicate this dish. All the creaminess and spice you need will be provided by the cheese, oil, nuts and paprika. A small amount of chopped parsley could be added to enhance the presentation.

Shopping list

  • extra virgin olive oil (aciete de oliva)
  • chicory leaves (achicoria hojas)
  • blue cheese such as picos blue (queso azul de los picos)
  • walnuts or pecan nuts (nueces o pacanas)
  • sweet smoked paprika (pimentón dulce ahumado)
  • freshly ground black pepper (pimienta recién molida negro)

Method

Luckily this delicious chicory with cheese recipe is so simple that anyone could make it and it is an excellent addition to any tapas spread.

First, prepare you chicory leaves by cutting the root-end and removing the leaves one by one. Arrange the leaves on a plate; they will will act as small boats to hold the other ingredients.

Warm a dry frying pan and gently toast the pecans (or walnuts) until they start to brown but do not overcook them as they will turn bitter. Remove from the heat and allow to cool then roughly chop. Next, start to crumble lumps of the blue cheese into the chicory boats and then do the same with the nuts. Do not overfill them as they need to be easy to lift and eat like a canapé.

Finally drizzle with a good peppery extra virgin olive oil and then dust with sweet smoked paprika. Finish off with a small amount of chopped parsley if you feel the need to enhance the presentation further.

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