The combination of slightly bitter frisée, sweet-tart quince, toasty hazelnuts, and richly pungent blue cheese makes a wonderful winter salad. For even more flavor, we've used quince paste (a tasty condiment available in cheese shops and specialty markets) and hazelnut oil to create an assertive vinaigrette that’s delicious with the frisée. Instead of frisée, you could also use other bitter greens like escarole, radicchio, or Belgian endive, or a combination.
|1 large||quince (peeled, cored and cut into 1/3-inch slivers)|
|2 head||frisée (8 ounces total), torn into bite-sized pieces|
|1/2 cup||toasted hazelnuts (coarsely chopped)|
|3 ounces||Stilton or other blue cheese (crumbled, about 1/2 cup)|
|2 1/2 tablespoons||quince paste|
|1 tablespoon||hot water|
|1 tablespoon||apple cider vinegar|
|1 tablespoon||sherry vinegar|
|1/4 cup||hazelnut oil|
|Salt and freshly ground black pepper|
Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat and add the quince slices. Sprinkle with the sugar and cook until the underside of the fruit is golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the fruit and cook on the other side until the quince is just tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer the fruit to a plate to cool.
To make the vinaigrette, place the quince paste, water, and vinegars in a small food processor and purée the mixture. Add the hazelnut oil and continue puréeing until smooth and emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Place the frisée in a large bowl. Toss with half of the vinaigrette, then taste and add more as needed. Add the hazelnuts and Stilton, and toss again. Divide the greens among 4 salad plates and arrange some of the quince slices atop each salad. Drizzle with more of the vinaigrette and serve immediately.