We headed to Portland Nursery for their annual Apple Festival last weekend. I was looking for a muse for this month’s blog post and found one amidst the large wooden crates of apples – the yield of trees from Oregon and Washington that we had the great good fortune to buy and consume. I am a fan of the apple in a savory dish rather than sweet. Give me an apple salad over pie any day.
Fall is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to food and cooking. Squashes, potatoes and pumpkins line up for soups and gratins, onions await transformation from pungent and crisp to soft and silky jam, carrots and cauliflowers are roasted and mushrooms sauteed. It’s enough to make one swoon. I missed a season in the kitchen, can you tell? If that wasn’t enough, I recently bought America’s Test Kitchen, The How Can it be Gluten-Free Cookbook, which has made me re-think gluten-free baking. Yes, I do happen to make a killer g-free brownie, but that was by replacing flour completely with nuts (hazelnut, in this case). ATK has developed, through its rigorous trial and error process, a gluten-free flour blend that opens the door to my old favorites – pastry dough, veggie pot pies, english muffins – things I had set aside in my g-free kitchen. My friend Linda turned me on to this book after serving up delicious lemon bars made from a recipe in the book. I ate one (or three) and demanded (politely) the provenance of the recipe. It’s all in there, if you’re interested. I’ll share some of my experiments. In the meantime, enjoy a simple apple salad to go with one of your fall dishes. This comes straight from the pages of Bon Appetit!
*Last year I was cooking Hot Shot Chili.
Apple Walnut Salad with Lime
1/2 cup walnut halves
2 crisp apples (Honeycrisp, Pink Lady) sliced thinly
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup Italian parsley leaves
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Sea salt and pepper
1/2 cup sliced or grated white cheddar cheese
2 T olive oil
1. Toast walnuts: place on a cookie sheet and bake in a 350° oven for 7-10 minutes.
2. Place sliced apples, scallions, parsley and red pepper in large salad bowl. Toss and season with salt and pepper.
3. Whisk lime juice and olive oil in small dish. Dress salad and divide into 4 small plates. Layer cheese on top.
- Let your nose guide you when toasting nuts. When they release their oils and become more aromatic, they are done. Don’t let them darken.
- The dressing is tangy! Adjust lime to taste.
- Season your salad with salt and pepper before dressing it, as it adds a layer of flavor. Even though this is a tip for greens, I apply the same principle to less-green dominated salads.