The candied pecans really elevate these, but can be swapped for simply roasted pecans to speed things up.
MAKES ABOUT 25
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp water
10g unsalted butter
2 heads red chicory, roots trimmed and leaves separated
50g blue cheese, such as gorgonzola, cambozola or roquefort
Honey or truffle honey, to drizzle (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Place the pecans on a small baking tray and roast for 8 minutes until golden and fragrant; set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, place the fennel seeds in a small nonstick frying pan over a medium-high heat and toast for a minute until fragrant. Roughly grind using a pestle and mortar and set aside.
- Return the pan to a medium heat with the sugar and water. Heat, swirling occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is golden and bubbling. Add the butter and swirl to a golden caramel.
- Very roughly chop the pecans and tip into the pan with the fennel seeds and cook, turning the nuts, until coated in the caramel. Tip on to a sheet of baking parchment, sprinkle with a little sea salt and set aside.
- Halve any large chicory leaves, then arrange on a platter. Top each with a piece of blue cheese, a slice of fig and scatter with a few of the pecans (breaking up any large clumps). A drizzle of honey goes nicely too.
GET AHEAD You can make the candied pecans up to 48 hours in advance and store at room temperature in an airtight container.