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Melon with Blue Cheese and Black Pepper

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Melon with Blue Cheese and Black Pepper

Melon with Blue Cheese and Black Pepper
Courtesy of Alain Passard and Frances Lincoln Ltd. The Art of Cooking with Vegetables.
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total prep
Recipe courtesy of The Art of Cooking with Vegetables by Alain Passard, 2012. Published by Frances Lincoln Ltd.

The blue vein, creamy-textured cheese I use for this dish is fourme d’Ambert. If this is difficult for you to source outside of France, you could replace it with Stilton. The cheese is combined with sweet, fully ripe melon-which is lightly sautéed to make one of the tastiest chaud-froid dishes I know. As an accompaniment, a salad of red sorrel and purple basil offers some arresting colour as well as a delicate astringency, but you could equally well use green varieties of both. Black pepper supports the whole dish.

Ingredients

  • 1 large ripe melon
  • 150 to 200g (5–7 oz) fourme d’Ambert, or Stilton
  • 3 to 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 or salt of your choice
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns crushed or coarsely ground
  • DRINK WITH:
  • A Pineau de Charentes or a Floc de Gascogne

Directions

  • Cut 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 side, 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 olive oil.
  • To serve, arrange a quarter of melon, a portion of cheese and a helping of the salad on 4 individual plates. Season to taste with salt and coarsely crushed or ground black pepper. Sign each plate with a trail of balsamic vinegar.