Steve Drake's inventive chicory recipe carefully balances a range of surprising flavours with aplomb. The chicory is braised in pale ale, then served with pickled peaches, a peach and hazelnut dressing, Monmouthshire ham and a grating of Gruyère for good measure.
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Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3.5
To start the dish, cut the chicory in half, heat a wide oven-proof pan with the olive oil and add the chicory cut-side down. Brown slightly, add the ale and orange juice and turn the heat to high
2 chicory, large
2 tbsp of olive oil
165ml of Meantime IPA, decanted
1/2 orange, juiced
Bring to the boil, place a lid on the pan and cook in the oven for 3 minutes. Remove the chicory and reduce the liquor over a high heat until a syrup consistency is achieved. Remove from the heat and return the chicory to the pan
To make the pickled peaches, first make the pickling liquor. Add the vinegar and sugar to a pan and place over a low-medium heat. Simmer very gently for 10 minutes
170ml of distilled vinegar
140g of caster sugar
Remove the stones and cut the peaches into wedges. Place in a shallow container, pour over the boiling pickling syrup, then allow to cool
2 peaches, ripe
For the peach vinaigrette, whisk the hazelnut oil, olive oil and peach juice together with a pinch of salt and add Chardonnay vinegar to taste, aiming for a good level of sharpness. Just before serving, add the chopped sweet cicely
50ml of peach juice
25ml of hazelnut oil
25ml of olive oil
Chardonnay vinegar, to taste
1 bunch of sweet cicely, chopped
If needed, warm the chicory through in the oven for 3 minutes
Wash the red chicory and cut off the base. Cut each leaf in half down the centre of the stem
1 red chicory, small
To serve, lay the warm braised chicory across the plate and arrange the peaches around it. Tear the ham into pieces and lay over the plate. Add two pieces of red chicory, sprinkle over a few toasted poppy seeds and a spoonful of the vinaigrette. Finally, grate the Gruyère cheese over the top and serve
16 slices of ham, preferably Monmouthshire
150g of Le Gruyère AOP
1 tsp poppy seeds, toasted
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