This luxurious salad is dressed with refreshing chilli herb oil and made extra special by the addition of truffles.
handful mustard frill leaves
truffle, for grating
For the truffle custard, heat the oven to 140C/275F/Gas 1, place the milk and cream into a saucepan and bring to a simmer, then add the truffle. Remove from the heat and leave in the pan to infuse for 15 minutes. Crack the egg and yolks into a bowl, whisk in the infused truffle cream, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and allow to cool. Pour into a ceramic dish, cover with cling film and place into a tray of hot water (the water should come a third of the way up the side of the ceramic dish), place into the oven and leave to steam for 20 minutes or until just set. Transfer to the fridge to chill for 12 hours.
For the cheese foam, add 450ml/16fl oz water to a pan and bring up to 80C/175F (use a kitchen thermometer for this) before adding the cheese. Once the cheese has melted, remove from the heat and leave to stand for 30 minutes. Push through a fine sieve back into a pan, add the lecithin, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and stir through.
For the cobnut crisp, in a bowl mix the yeast with the water. Add the flour, salt and sourdough starter and combine by hand. Mix until a firm dough is achieved, then wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for two hours.
Pre heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Roll pieces of the dough through a pasta machine to the thinnest setting possible, or alternatively, place pieces of the dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll out with a rolling pin until you have long, thin sheets (but not so thin that they can’t be handled without breaking). Place the dough on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and sprinkle over the chopped cobnuts, place another sheet of parchment paper on top and then press using another tray. Bake in the oven for eight minutes, remove the top tray and cook for another four minutes. Allow to cool, then break into shards.
For the chilli herb oil, heat the garlic, chilli and grapeseed oil in a shallow pan over a medium heat, until the garlic is golden brown. Strain the oil into a measuring jug, discard the chilli and garlic, and add more grapeseed oil until you have a total of 200ml/7fl oz.
Heat a pan of water until boiling, add the parsley and cook briefly for 20-30 seconds. Drain, then immediatey plunge the parsley into the iced water to refresh. Drain again, then squeeze dry.
Place the infused grapeseed oil into a blender with the blanched parsley and a pinch of salt. Blend until you have a bright green oil. Half fill a large bowl with ice and sit a smaller bowl inside. Strain the oil through a fine sieve into the smaller bowl and whisk until slightly thickened.
For the salad, prepare and trim all the vegetables into small leaves and florets. Heat a griddle pan until hot then add the leaves and florets in batches, making sure everything touches the griddle pan. Frequently turn the vegetables with a pair of tongs, taking care not to over char them (you are looking for a light charring around the edges). Remove from the chargrill, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and set aside.
For the cheese foam, reheat the mixture until steam starts to appear, then use a hand blender to create a foam.
To serve, place a spoon of truffle custard onto each plate and arrange the griddled vegetables around it. Place a few shards of cobnut crisp over the truffle custard and scatter the mustard frill before drizzling with the chilli herb oil. Finish with a grating of fresh truffle and a few drops of the cheese foam.
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Mary Ellen McTague, James Durrant and Mark Ellis try to impress with their main course.
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