Going to Malta for the first time, I had imagined a peaceful Mediterranean getaway. I expected to find lonely beaches and tranquil villages, but I was introduced to an unknown world. The towns blend into each other to create a vivid density, a constant hustle – it’s a bit like being in a beehive. I had to find my hidden spots, my personal favorites. The stunning Fomm ir-Riħ is one of them. On the western side of the island, this small pebble-beached bay is only safely accessible through a small path along the cliff face that’s camouflaged by the sandy white rock it’s formed in. It’s hidden so well that I couldn’t find it on my first try. I had to take a rather long walk around the cliffs before sliding down a sandy slope and tumbling onto the beach. I must have looked quite exhausted, as a passing farmer offered me a peach that happened to be one of the juiciest and sweetest I’ve ever tasted. I’ll never forget the pleasure of the first bite. I wish I had that peach for this salad. The crunchy bitterness of radicchio, combined with sweet oven-roasted shallots and sharp blue cheese, fits so well with the fruit’s honey-like juices.
For the salad:
- 8 shallots, peeled and cut in half lengthwise (or 4 small red onions, peeled and cut into quarters)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Flaky sea salt
- Ground pepper
- 5oz/140g radicchio, soft leaves only, torn into pieces
- 4 ripe peaches, peeled and cut into 8 wedges each
- 2oz/60g Fourme d’Ambert, stilton, or any crumbly blue cheese, crumbled
- 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
For the dressing:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Fine sea salt
- Ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Spread the shallots on the lined baking sheet, drizzle with the olive oil, and season to taste with flaky sea salt and pepper. Gently mix with your fingers and roast for 10 minutes. Flip the shallots over and roast for another 5 minutes or until golden brown and soft. Peel any hard or burnt layers off the shallots and set them aside. You can prepare the shallots in advance; they don’t need to be warm.
For the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, both vinegars, and the honey; season to taste with salt and pepper.
Arrange the radicchio, peaches, and shallots in overlapping layers on plates, sprinkle with the crumbled cheese and thyme, drizzle with the dressing, and serve immediately.
Meike’s book Eat In My Kitchen was published on the 4th October 2016 in English and in German by Prestel/Verlagsgruppe Random House.Visit The Blog