Eleanor Maidment’s blue cheese, candied pecan and fig bites recipe

The candied pecans really elevate these, but can be swapped for simply roasted pecans to speed things up.

fig bites
Matt Russell

MAKES ABOUT 25

50g pecans
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)

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.