Always on the lookout for unique ways to use comb honey, I was intrigued to receive this recipe from Richard Lercari, a chef and owner of Culinary Hive Products LLC. Richard wrote:
Unlike a honey vinaigrette, the great advantage to having comb honey fresh, candied, or set is that you can have moments of sweetness in a dish without every mouthful being of honey. Using the classic combination of cheese and comb try this salad:
A bitter green salad (arugula or kale) tossed with some salty cheese (semisoft pecorino or parmesan or a less salty manchego) shaved in slivers with a peeler, add a few walnuts and olive oil, and a twist of black pepper. Go easy with the salt because the cheese will add salt. Mix lightly and finish with several tiny 3/8 x 3/8 cubes of comb sprinkled about each dish . . . and wow. Every mouthful is a different combination of sweet, bitter, salt. You can add an acidity of lemon or vinegar if you like. Adding walnuts creates a chew that balances the wax of the comb. I think you will enjoy this.
So I promptly purchased all the ingredients and made the salad just as Richard recommended. I made one change due to a food allergy in the household, and that was to substitute pecans for the walnuts.
But have no doubt, this salad was a hit. Everything Richard says about it is true. It’s a salad of contrasts: sweet and salty, smooth and crunchy, bitter and mild. It’s pretty too—the honeycomb catches the light in a sparkle that just begs you to eat. And I loved the isolated bits of sweetness that seemed to make the honey flavor even more intense.
The nuts really did their job and no one complained about wax particles while they were eating. In fact, I didn’t notice the wax at all.
The hardest part was cutting the honey into tiny cubes. I had pieces of honeycomb stuck to everything, especially to each other. I ended up taking a piece of comb and slicing it into thin pieces with a knife and letting them drop onto the salad. It was messy, but worth it.
However, I did make one serious strategic error: while I was trying to cut the comb I dropped a glob of it on the cutting board. It was very messy, so I scooped it up with a pecan and ate it. I was mesmerized. In fact, I had another and another and another. I had to stop myself before dinner became nothing but an afterthought.
But seriously, the salad is great. Try it! Let me know what you think. And Richard . . . you’ve got me hooked. What’s next?