This is definitely a sister salad to the fig & goat's curd one I made earlier this month - Ottolenghi expertly teams a limited-time-only fruit with fancy cheese and lots of green leaves. Truth be told, I'd been secretly waiting for J to announce quince time for a couple of months. Just for this salad.
Quinces typically get poached slowly in lots of sugar but here also peppercorns, bay leaves, orange zest, lemon juice and red wine - lovely. This ensures the quince segments retain a little bite and they're beautifully teamed with a pungent, creamy gorgonzola. Lots of greens and some pistachios keep it all from being too rich.
The poaching juices are ingeniously used in the salad dressing, but there are plenty more to enjoy after this salad's finished. I still haven't decided what to do with mine - any suggestions?
Quince & gorgonzola salad
(very slightly adapted from a recipe in Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty)
300g castor sugar
15 black peppercorns
4 strips of orange zest
2 bay leaves
juice of 1/2 lemon
200mL red wine
2 medium quinces
1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
4 tablespoons olive oil
80g mixed leaves
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 140°C.
In a medium saucepan, stir together the water, castor sugar, peppercorns, orange zest, bay leaves, lemon juice and red wine. Gently warm them until the sugar has dissolved, then take them off the heat.
Peel and core the quinces, adding these scraps to the saucepan of syrup. Slice the quince into segments and add them to the syrup. Transfer the quinces and syrup to a casserole dish, cover it up and bake for about 2 hours. When the quince segments are completely tender, remove them from the oven and set them aside to cool.
To make the salad's dressing, whisk together the mustard, vinegar, oil, 4 tablespoons of the cooking liquid and salt and pepper to taste.
Set up the salad by layering the greens and quinces on a plate, interspersing them with teaspoons of gorgonzola and sprinklings of pistachios. Spoon the dressing over the top.