The ingredients of this fresh and vibrant salad, with contrasting colours, textures and flavours, are perfectly complemented by the subtle walnut oil dressing. The walnut flavour is strengthened by adding lightly toasted walnut pieces to the salad. Serve for a tempting lunch, accompanied by crusty wholegrain rolls or bread.
Other blue cheese, such as Stilton or Danish blue, works equally well here. As most blue cheeses are fairly salty, it isn't necessary to season the dressing with salt. * For a ricotta and chicory salad, separate the leaves of 2 small heads of chicory, about 170 g (6 oz) in total. Cut each leaf in half lengthways and arrange on a serving platter. In a small jug, mix together 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 1 tbsp orange juice, ½ tsp finely grated orange zest, and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk in 1 tbsp sunflower oil and 1 tbsp walnut or hazelnut oil to make a creamy dressing. Cook 170 g (6 oz) sugarsnap peas in boiling water for about 3 minutes or until just tender, then drain and refresh under cold running water. Put into a mixing bowl and add 2 avocados, sliced horizontally into half moons, 4 plum tomatoes, cut into very thin wedges, and 75 g (2½ oz) toasted pecan nut halves. Drizzle over the dressing and toss gently to coat. Spoon on top of the chicory, dot spoonfuls of 200 g (7 oz) ricotta cheese over the surface, and serve.
Cheese contains valuable nutrients, so it is well worth including it in a well-balanced diet. Those cheeses that are high in fat, such as strongly flavoured Roquefort, need only be used in small quantities to contribute taste as well as their health benefits. * Watercress is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene. It also contains a compound that has been shown to have antibiotic properties. * When ripe, pears have a high natural sugar content. They are also a good source of potassium, which is needed to help regulate blood pressure.
A, C, E, calcium, copper * B1, B2, B6, niacin, iron, potassium, zinc