Recipe of the week Yacon and Blue Cheese Salad Nov 4th

It's not easy to improve upon the famously fabulous combination of walnuts and blue cheese but the addition of yacon, with its succulent sweet crunch, really lightens and freshens this deliciously different lunch.  This recipe from Mark Diacono’s A Taste of the Unexpected (Quadrille, £20) serves 4 as a starter.

Ingredients

  • Small handful of shelled walnuts or pecans
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 medium-large yacon
  • Handful of salad leaves
  • 180g blue cheese, such as Dorset blue vinney, roquefort or gorgonzola

For the dressing:

  • 1 tbsp apple balsamic vinegar
  • Pinch of flaky sea salt
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4.  Spread the walnuts or pecans out onto a baking tray and toast in the oven for 8–10 minutes, shaking halfway through, until lightly coloured – keep an eye on them to ensure they don't burn. Fill a bowl with water and add the lemon juice. Peel the yacon, cut into slices and toss into the lemony water to prevent them from discolouring. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar with the salt before adding the olive oil a little at a time, whisking all the while until smooth. In a bowl, lightly dress the salad leaves in a little of the dressing and divide between 4 plates.

Arrange the sliced yacon on top, crumble over the blue cheese, then trickle over the rest of the dressing. Scatter the nuts over the top and serve immediately.