Warm mushroom salad with toasted walnuts and Stilton cheese is a real pleasure for everyone who loves a rich and delicate food. Hot, buttery mushrooms and baby spinach are tossed with garlic croûtes in this warm salad. The bread can be made ahead and then warmed through and topped with the garlic butter just before serving. Clean the mushrooms with the brush or wipe with damp kitchen paper. Stilton cheese is made from pasteurised whole cows’ milk, it has a rich, piquant flavour and a moist, crumbly texture. Stilton is at its best between November and April. Blue Stilton should have a ivory-coloured interior with blue-green veining. More mature versions will have a mellow, creamier taste, and will be slightly darker yellow in colour. This is perfect salad that can be a light meal, accompanied by a nice fruity red wine.
1 small white baguette, cut into 1 cm slices
50 g softened butter
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
250 g Crimini mushrooms (or any you can find), cleaned
25 g walnut halves
100 g baby spinach
75 g Stilton cheese, crumbled
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Place the bread slices on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 5 minutes until golden and toasted, turning once. Mash the butter and garlic together and spread each slice of the bread with a little of the garlic butter. Return the bread to the oven for 5 minutes until the butter has melted.
Meanwhile, heat the frying pan over a high heat, add the olive oil and the remaining garlic butter. Allow the butter to foam then add the muhrooms and cook for 4 – 5 minutes until tender and just cooked. Tip the mushrooms into a bowl and wipe the pan with kitchen paper.
Place the walnut halves in the dry pan and toss gently for a minute or so over a medium heat, to toast. Combine with the mushrooms, garlic croûtes and pinach. Pile into 2 warm plates, scatter with the crumbled Stilton cheese and serve, drizzled with balsamic vinegar.