Honeycomb salad

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?

Rusty
HoneyBeeSuite

Comments

Bill Castro
Reply

We make what we call peanut butter fudge with comb honey. Equal parts peanut butter or the like, organic powdered milk, and comb honey. Mix together until think like cookie dough…goes great with tea.

Rusty
Reply

Sounds tasty, very similar to peanut butter and honeycomb sandwiches without the bread getting in the way!

David
Reply

This sounds really good, I definitely will try this out!

cgrey8
Reply

I have a suggestion I just came up with this morning. It’s not as elegant as a chunk honey salad, but it was interesting. I dropped a chunk into pancake batter. If you mix your batter manually, this might not be a great idea. But I’ve always made pancake batter in a blender. So dropping in a chunk of honey blended right up easier than when I throw in a cold chunk of butter. I could see a few tiny particles of wax in the batter as I poured it, but once it hit the hot skillet, the wax melts right into the batter.

From watching the Food Network, I’ve learned that a professional chef would probably cringe at the idea of a blender beating the batter. Supposedly if you mix pancake batter “too long” it does evil things to the gluten. But I’ve never had a problem blending batter. When I heard this, I was compelled to experiment just to see if pancakes came out any fluffier or lighter mixed manually. My unsophisticated palette couldn’t so I continue to do what’s easy…blend. I get a far greater noticeable difference in texture based on how much milk I pour in than how it is mixed.

Anyway, so what inspired comb honey batter? I had a jar of comb honey from my parents harvest this past summer. I haven’t yet developed a full appreciation for the comb. Perhaps I just haven’t found the best uses for it. The vast majority of my honey usage is as a sweetener in tea. I do drizzle over Rice Krispies or Cheerios. And occasionally I use it on biscuits instead of jelly. So anyway, my jar of comb honey was getting low and the chunk was being exposed more and more. I tried eating the comb, but because they used a smoker on their hives, the comb had the distinct flavor of smoke. But it had a lot of honey in it that I didn’t want to throw out. So…into the pancake batter it went. Worked great. The smoke tones were completely undetectable, and the honey sweetness meant I didn’t have to use as much syrup.

BTW, I always add some salt to my batter. I noticed I always craved lots of butter on my stacks and I figured out it wasn’t the butter I was craving, but the salt in the butter. Now I add a fair amount of salt to the batter and I find spray butter is plenty.

Rusty
Reply

Chris,

“I tried eating the comb, but because they used a smoker on their hives, the comb had the distinct flavor of smoke.” I’m so glad you said that. I’ve had people argue with me that there is no way anyone could taste the smoke, that it was a wive’s tale. But I have smelled it and, consequently, I never use smoke in a comb honey hive. (Actually, not using smoke has become a habit. I hardly ever use it except for some unusual circumstance.) But anyway, thank you! thank you! for mentioning that.

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