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Cheese and Onion Salad with Creamy Herb Dressing

Serves 4


  • 8 small or 4 banana shallots, peeled and finely sliced
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • White wine vinegar
  • 1 romaine or cos lettuce, washed and spun dry, leaves separated
  • 1 round lettuce, outer leaves removed, washed and spun dry, leaves separated
  • 4 large handfuls of mixed salad leaves (such as rocket, oak leaf, and a little dandelion), washed and spun dry, leaves separated
  • 100g Roquefort cheese, crumbled
  • A good handful of walnuts, toasted and crumbled
  • Optional: a small handful of chive or allium flowers

For the creamy herb dressing:

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons crème fraîche
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

In this recipe, you basically pickle the onions very quickly. Usually pickling is a lengthy process, but if you get the onions really finely sliced, the salt and vinegar get to penetrate them straight away. The main rule when you’re making a salad with any kind of onions in it is to make sure that they’re sliced wafer-thin or chopped very small. There’s nothing worse than salads with great big chunks of onion in them – clumsy, lazy, horrible!

Have a go at this recipe, even if you think you don’t particularly like onions in salads, as they’re quite mild. You can use sweet red onions instead of shallots if you like. And feel free to use any interesting mixed salad leaves.

Place the shallots in a small bowl with a generous pinch of salt and pour over just enough white wine vinegar to cover. You’ll pour away the excess salt and vinegar once the onions are pickled, so don’t worry if you think it’s a bit much! Scrunch everything together with your hands and leave to marinate for at least 10 minutes.

To make the dressing, mix 4 tablespoons of olive oil with the crème fraîche and the red wine vinegar. Whisk everything together and season to taste.

Squeeze the shallots hard with your hands and drain. Place the salad leaves on a plate. From a height, sprinkle over the shallots and the crumbled Roquefort. Scatter over the crumbled walnuts – it’s really nice if they’re still a bit warm from being toasted. I like to drizzle over the dressing at the table. Finish by throwing over some torn-up chive or allium flowers, if you have them.