Melange of endive, pear, Gorgonzola and ‘friends’: a CardioKit recipe

...with honey, lemon and mustard dressing

We at CardioKit urge you to try this one, especially if you think you don’t like the ingredients — when combined they make a magical mouthful.

This salad accentuates the culinary concept of ‘point-and-counterpoint’ with texture. Slightly bitter endive leaves exaggerate the firm sweetness of pear and the rich creaminess of Gorgonzola. It’s basically the same thing we do when eating cheese with fruit. The flavours are further lifted by ‘friends’ — sweet grapes, the crunch of creamy walnut and finished with a drizzle of the flavour-boosting dressing.

As you know we always ‘reverse engineer’ our recipes with health in mind and here are the highlights:

  • endive leaves are high in nitrates which help lower blood pressure (just make sure you haven’t brushed your teeth within 3 hours of consumption as you need the oral bacteria for conversation)
  • walnuts and regular tree-nut consumption are associated with improved long-term health through a number of likely mechanisms including a nutrient profile which is high in protective unsaturated fats, fibre and has positive effects on lipid profiles
  • grapes and other colourful berries have demonstrated protective health effects in a number of studies
  • pears are high in soluble fibres which are associated with cardiovascular protection and improved lipid profiles
  • a meal without elements of indulgence will leave you dissatisfied and you will likely crave and compensate via snacks later. Combine with ‘dots’ of Gorgonzola for an illusion of richness

As the Spring and Summer months approach our natural cravings for energy-rich starchy foods reduce and this is a good opportunity to embrace the opportunity for positive eating — these salads are much more than just a side dish. Make them the centre of the meal and combine fruits, vegetables and nuts with proteins and ‘side-dishes’ of carbohydrates. We like to have this melange with a grilled chicken breast which is golden on the outside and a pure juicy white in the centre — sliced and mixed in at the end.

2 servings:

  • one endive (or chicory in the UK)
  • one large pear — still firm but sweet
  • large handful of walnuts crushed up
  • large handful of red grapes
  • sweet Gorgonzola cheese

Dressing;

  • half a lemon squeezed
  • half a teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • half a teaspoon of runny honey
  • equal amount to the mixture above of extra-virgin olive oil
  • half a clove of garlic — crushed or minced (optional but nice)
  • pinch of salt and black pepper
  • wash the fruit and veg in cold water
  • cut the endive in half and then slice thinly lengthways and do the same with the pear
  • combine in a bowl
  • cut the grapes into slices and scatter into the bowl with the crushed walnuts, then mix well
  • now finish the top of the melange with dots of sweet Gorgonzola cheese
  • for the dressing simply mix the ingredients and shake in a sealed jar or whisk with a fork to form an emulsion, then drizzle over the top of the salad

We would recommend combining with a grilled chicken breast — rub a little olive oil onto the breast and season both sides with salt and black pepper. Place directly onto a hot non-stick pan and leave without turning until golden brown. Repeat on the other side. Should take around 10–15 minutes to cook depending on the thickness (worth checking by slicing and checking the thickest part). Rest for a few minutes and then slice into strips before adding to the salad.

Top Tip: For extra crispy golden chicken with juicy middle place a piece of foil or grease-proof paper on top of the breast and weigh-down with a heavy cast-iron pan (or heatproof plate topped with food tins) during the grilling. Don’t flip the breast too often — allow one side to get well browned before turning.

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