Winter salad with apples + bonus salad dressing recipe

Winter salad

A couple months ago my friends took me out to dinner at The Bristol and to see Up In The Air.  We spread roasted bone marrow and shallot jam on toasted bread, tucked into roast chicken with homemade spaetzle.  There may have been flatbread with bacon and pull-apart monkey bread.  I seem to recall pate and cheese and gin drinks.  The movie was pretty good, too.

But the thing I haven’t been able to get out of my head is a salad we ate with green apples, watercress, parsley, hazelnuts, and manchego cheese in a lemony dressing.  I’ve been experimenting with recreating it with readily available ingredients (no watercress at the HarvesTime, and no hazelnuts except in Nutella form).  I think I finally got the flavors right for tonight’s dinner.Ingredients (Makes 1 salad)

  • A good handful or two of arugula or watercress
  • 1/2 a granny smith apple, diced into small pieces
  • 1 stick of celery, chopped
  • A few sprigs of chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1/2 oz of manchego cheese, grated or chopped into thin flakes (You could probably substitute some good parmigiano reggiano if that’s what you have around)
  • drizzle of good olive oil (about 1/2 tbsp, if you’re measuring)
  • 2 lemon-wedges worth of fresh lemon juice
  • small handful pine nuts or hazelnuts
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

Combine everything in a bowl.  Drizzle with olive oil, squeeze your lemon, toss to combine, add salt and pepper to taste.  It’s great to pack for lunch, the acidity in the lemon stops the apples from turning brown and the arugula holds up and doesn’t get soggy.

Bonus Salad Dressing Recipe

I almost never buy bottled salad dressing anymore.  I don’t like gloppy things or mayonnaise much. “Thousand Island” dressing looks like something that people eat in nightmares.  I  keep good olive oil, vinegar, lemon, garlic, salt, pepper, and dijon mustard in the house as staples, and that’s all I need.

The rule of good dressing is 3 parts oil to one part acid.  You can combine it with herbs, shallots, garlic, mustard, etc. to jazz it up, but that’s the basic formula.  Here are some I like:

  1. 1 tbsp of olive oil + 1 tsp balsamic or red wine vinegar + a little salt and pepper gets you a dressing in a flash
  2. Try chopping 1 clove of garlic or shallot and sitting it in the oil for a little while to mellow and infuse the oil.  Add the vinegar and a tiny pinch of sugar and mix well.  Salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Make #2, above, and add some herbs – basil, oregano – for more of an Italian kick.
  4. Make your basic vinaigrette then whisk in a little Dijon mustard to dress Salad Nicoise.
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