Fall brings us a bounty of delicious fruits that are just perfect for salads.
I like salads with lots of texture, colors and flavors. The tart flavor of Granny Smith apples is a great complement to the sweet cider vinaigrette and the salty blue cheese in this English Farmhouse Salad. Crunchy walnuts are the finishing touch.
Grilling the apples caramelizes the fruit and enhances its sweetness -- turning an ordinary ingredient into a show stopper. If you don't want to fire up your outdoor grill, just grill your apples indoors on a stove-top grill pan.
This salad highlights the classic pairings of apples, walnuts and Stilton. Hailed by some as the "king of blue cheeses," Stilton is a pungent cheese produced in England since the 1700s. Other blue cheeses, such as Maytag, bleu d'Auvergne or Danish blue, can be substituted for the Stilton.
Both tart and sweet, this makes a great salad to start a meal, or it can be used as a side dish to accompany chicken or pork.
Jennifer Chandler is the author of "Simply Salads" (Thomas Nelson, $24.99) and "Simply Suppers: Easy Comfort Food Your Whole Family Will Love" (Thomas Nelson, $24.99).
English Farmhouse Salad
For the apple cider vinaigrette:
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. dry mustard powder
2/3 cup distilled white vinegar
3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 cup canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the salad:
1 tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and thinly sliced
1 bag (5 oz.) spring mix salad blend
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and cooled
1/2 cup crumbled Stilton blue cheese
For the vinaigrette:
In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, dry mustard, distilled white vinegar, apple cider vinegar and Worcestershire sauce until the sugar has dissolved. Slowly add the oil in a stream, whisking to emulsify. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
For the salad:
Pre-heat a clean grill or grill pan to medium-low. In a medium-size bowl toss the apple slices with the oil until well coated. Grill the apple slices until just softened, about 2 minutes per side. Set aside to cool.
In a large salad bowl, toss the salad blend, walnuts and Stilton. Add the vinaigrette to taste and gently toss. Top with grilled apple slices.
Makes 6 appetizer or side salads.
-- Source: "Simply Salads" by Jennifer Chandler