My Market - Tom Rees

posted 12 Jan 2012, 16:07 by David Homfray   [ updated 12 Jan 2012, 16:13 ]
Tom Rees is a musician and keen foodie who enjoys cooking in his spare time. 

January, the graveyard of new year's resolutions, with its chill winds and dark mornings, can be more than a little depressing. Thank goodness for the East Oxford Farmers’ Market and all of its fantastic winter produce! This simple salad is the result of a trip to the market last Saturday. At once sweet, salty, sharp and refreshing, it’s a delicious jumble of contrasting flavours and textures and the perfect antidote to the January blues.

Serves 2 as starter or, with a couple of slices of The Natural Bread Company’s sourdough on the side, as a light lunch.

For the Salad:
  • 25g hazelnuts (shelled weight), halved
  • 25g of hard sheep’s or goat’s cheese. I’m using Sarsden, a wonderfully tangy ewe’s milk cheese from Crudge’s Dairy
  • 1 pear, on the firm side of ripe
  • A few handfuls of watercress or other peppery leaves
For the Dressing:
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • About the same quantity of rapeseed oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Lightly toast the hazelnuts in a dry pan (this serves to intensify their flavour) and rub the toasted nuts in a tea towel to remove some of the skins.
  2. Thinly slice the pears and the cheese.
  3. Arrange the watercress on a plate and scatter over the pears, hazelnuts and cheese.
  4. Whisk together the lemon juice and the oil and season to taste. Rapeseed oil gives the dressing a beautiful vibrant colour and is subtle enough to let the other flavours come through. You could use a light olive oil instead but not extra virgin.
  5. Spoon the dressing over the salad and serve.