The sweet, warm, orange melon with the savory, big flavor of the blue-veined cheese was well-matched for looks and taste, and the bright mix of herbs cut the richness nicely. It was a surprisingly filling salad with the wedge of melon and chunk of fourme d’Ambert. Now, I’m flipping to the late summer pages of the book to decide which food as art piece to recreate next.
Melon with Blue Cheese and Black Pepper
150-200 g (5-7 oz) fourme d’Ambert or Stilton
3-4 tablespoons virgin olive oil
several handfuls of red or green sorrel, washed, and tough ribs removed
leaves from a bunch of purple or green basil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
fleur de sel
1 tablespoon black peppercorns crushed or coarsely ground
Drink with A Pineau de Charentes or a Floc de Gascogne
Slice the cheese into four equal-sized portions and leave them at room temperature for about half an hour.
Meanwhile, cut the melon into quarters, and scoop out and discard the seeds. Thinly cover the bottom of a saute pan with about one tablespoon of the olive oil, holding back the rest; arrange the melon quarters, flat on their sides, in a single layer, in the pan. Partially cover with a lid and stew the melon quarters gently over low heat for 25 minutes, turning them over from time to time.
While the melon is stewing gently, put the leaves of sorrel and basil in a salad bowl and dress them gently with the remaining oil.
To serve, arrange a quarter of melon, a portion of cheese and a helping of the salad on four individual plates. Season to taste with salt and crushed or coarsely ground black pepper. Sign each plate with a trail of balsamic vinegar.
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