This sweet, tangy, creamy, griddled apricot salad is a delightful midsummer seasonal salad, and perfect to share amongst friends, alongside a BBQ, or with a glass of Appletiser*.
*This post is commissioned by Appletiser
Last summer I got into the habit of grilling nectarines and peaches, so this summer it’s my favourite stone fruit apricot’s turn. If you’re having a BBQ then the fruit can be cooked straight on the grill when the heat has died down a little. It’s a fun way of making the side dish part of the BBQ action. If, like me you live in a flat where the nearest thing to having a BBQ is staring longingly at the garden below and using your wild imagination, then the griddle pan over your gas stove will have to suffice. Thankfully the griddle pan is just as resourceful when it comes to imprinting those all important grill lines on your fruit.
Apricots, like avocados, seem to have a narrow window where they are perfectly ripe. Even with their tempting beautiful hint of blush, there is sometimes no way of knowing exactly what level of ripeness you will enjoy, until you tuck in. If you’ve ever sunk your teeth into a sour bite, you’ll know already how disappointing it can be. Then on the contrary if over ripe they can turn into a mushy mess; these apricots are best for compotes and jams. For this griddled apricot salad you want apricots on the firmer side. Their tartness marries well with my creamy stinky Yorkshire blue cheese.
I created this griddled apricot salad in collaboration with the sparkling apple juice brand Appletiser. I’m working with Appletiser on a few more recipe posts this year, so look forward to coming up with more fun flavour combinations in the coming months. On this ocassion my task was to create a midsummer party dish, that would go well with the drink. So, I decided to base all of my ingredients around being flavour partners for apple. According to my go to culinary guide ‘The Flavour Bible’, apricots go well with apples, as well as with fennel, watercress and blue cheese. This combination of flavours offers tart, peppery, sweet, cream and crunch – a real party of summer ingredients that I reckon were definitely all made for each other.
I can imagine serving the salad at a midsummer party or BBQ; pairing it alongside some perfectly grilled lamb chops with a mint and pistachio pesto, and most definitely some roasted new potatoes too. Just make sure you serve the Appletiser on ice and preferably from champagne flutes.
This is my kind of home-cooked food. A simple dish, a sharing plate, that relies heavily on cracking flavour combos and seasonal ingredients.
- 6 ripe apricots, cut in half and stone removed
- 2 medium fennel, top and tailed, core removed and thinly sliced on a mandolin (or with a knife)
- 85g watercress
- 80g tangy blue cheese
- Olive oil for cooking the apricots
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 1 small shallot, finely minced
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
- salt and pepper
- First, make up your dressing by whisking together all of the ingredients along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Taste the salad by dipping in a leaf of watercress and adjust flavourings as required. If your vinegar is super tangy, add more oil etc.
- Toss half of the dressing with the thinly sliced fennel, and leave it to marinade for around 10 minutes.
- Heat up a griddle pan over a medium-hot flame and drizzle olive oil over the pan. Lay the apricots cut side down on the pan and cook for around 3 minutes, or until they begin to soften and char marks appear on the surface. Turn over and cook for another 3 minutes, then remove from the pan and allow to cool.
- When you're ready to compose your salad, scatter the watercress over a serving plate and add the marinated fennel and the apricots on top. Crumble over the blue cheese, and finish with another drizzle of the dressing and some freshly ground black pepper.
- You can serve the salad while the apricots are still warm or allow them to cool first.
*Disclaimer: This post and recipe was commissioned by Appletiser 3