Hearts of cos with blue cheese and bacon

  • Blue Cheese Dressing, recipe follows
  • For blue cheese dressing:
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 tsp celery seeds
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 shallot, peeled
  • 120ml buttermilk
  • 115g crumbled blue cheese
  • 240g mayonnaise
  • For salad:
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 hearts cos lettuce
  • 1 large egg
  • 8 strips good-quality streaky bacon
1) Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas Mark 5.

2) Lay the bacon strips on a roasting rack and bake in the oven until crisp, about 20 minutes. (To make bacon curls: Wrap each slice of raw bacon around a metal skewer in a barber-pole fashion and lay the skewers on the roasting rack.)

3) Pat dry with a kitchen towel. When cool enough to handle, break into pieces or in half, if using curls.

4) Put the egg in a small saucepan with enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, cover, and remove from the heat. Set aside for 10 minutes. Drain the egg and roll it between your palm and the counter to crack the shell, then peel under cool running water. Rub the egg through a fine-mesh strainer and set aside.

5) Remove the large outer leaves from the cos hearts and rinse. Chop these leaves into bite-size pieces and spin dry. (Use an extremely sharp knife to minimize bruising the edges.) Halve the hearts through the cores to make 4 wedges. Rinse under cold running water and shake to air dry.

6) Divide the wedges among 4 plates. Mound some of the chopped cos on top and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Spoon about 60ml of Blue Cheese Dressing over each salad and top with some of the sieved egg and bacon. Pass the remaining dressing at the table.

Know-How: This is the method we use whenever we hard-cook eggs. Because they are not actually boiled, the egg's yolk doesn't turn drab green or develop a strong taste.

Blue Cheese Dressing:

Pulse the mayonnaise, blue cheese, buttermilk, shallot, lemon zest, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and celery seeds in a food processor to make a chunky but pourable sauce. Stir in the parsley and season with plenty of pepper. Use immediately or refrigerate in a tightly sealed container for up to 3 days.

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