Chicory marmalade tart with blue cheese, pickled walnuts and pears

A flaky puff pastry tart paired with deep-fried blue cheese and refreshing pear is a winning combination from Nathan Outlaw
Chicory marmalade tart with blue cheese, pickled walnuts and pears
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes plus 30 minutes resting
  • Effort: easy


For the chicory marmalade tart

  • 200 g ready-roll puff pastry
  • 2 banana shallots, or 4 normal shallots, finely sliced
  • 100 ml white wine vinegar
  • 4 juniper berries, crushed
  • 50 g butter
  • 20 ml olive oil
  • 4 heads white chicory, core removed, finely sliced lengthways
  • 75 g caster sugar

For the blue cheese

  • 200 g blue cheese, (preferably Cornish Blue), chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • plain flour, for dusting
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 handfuls Japanese breadcrumbs
  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying

For the dressing

  • 1 cloves garlic, pureed
  • 1 tbsp English mustard
  • 1 lemon, juice only
  • 2 tsp cider vinegar
  • 150 ml rapeseed oil
  • 150 ml walnut oil

To serve

  • winter salad leaves, such as rocket and lambs lettuce
  • 2 pears, peeled, core removed, chopped into small pieces
  • 6 pickled walnuts, roughly chopped


1. For the chicory marmalade tart: cut the puff pastry sheet into four 15cm/6in squares and place onto a baking sheet. Set aside the pastry to rest for 30 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 2.

3. Meanwhile, place the shallot, vinegar and juniper into a small non-reactive saucepan. Place over a medium heat and cook gently for 5-6 minutes, or until the shallots are softened and the vinegar has reduced down to almost nothing. Remove the pan from the heat and keep warm.

4. Heat the olive oil and the butter in a frying pan and add the sliced chicory. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the chicory is softened and has turned translucent. Stir in the shallot and vinegar mixture and add the sugar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved, then season with salt. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.

5. Divide the chicory mixture evenly among the four pieces of puff pastry, spooning the mixture into the middle of each pastry square, leaving a border around the edges. Bake the chicory tarts for 10-12 minutes, or until the pastry is golden-brown and risen. Remove from the oven and place onto a wire rack to cool.

6. For the blue cheese: dredge the pieces of blue cheese in the flour, then dip into the beaten egg and roll in the breadcrumbs to coat.

7. Half-fill a small, heavy-based saucepan with vegetable oil and heat until a cube of bread dropped in sizzles and turns golden-brown in 30 seconds (CAUTION: hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended). Deep-fry the coated blue cheese, in small batches, until golden-brown and crisp. Remove from the oil and drain on kitchen paper. Season with salt.

8. For the dressing: in a bowl, whisk together the garlic puree, mustard, lemon juice and vinegar until well combined. Pour the rapeseed oil and walnut oil into the bowl in a thin, steady stream, whisking continuously, until all of the oil is incorporated and the dressing is emulsified. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

9. To serve, place a chicory tart in the middle of each plate. Mix the salad leaves together with the pear and pickled walnuts and drizzle with the dressing. Toss well to coat, then arrange the salad on top of the tart. Scatter the deep-fried cheese around the tart and drizzle around a bit more dressing.

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