A true apple salad isn’t about tossing some raw apple slices into a bowl of greens and calling it a day. Let’s face it; that would be pretty lame. Besides, that shortcut works best when apples are at their peak, in the fall. This time of year, one of our favorite fruits, while still readily available, could benefit from a little extra attention. That’s why I adore my own take on Dave Lieberman’s caramelized apple salad. The golden delicious slices turn a deeper golden and gain complexity up as they sizzle gently in the sauté pan. Paired with peppery greens, a salty blue cheese and crunchy, toasty walnuts, this is a salad worthy of company or a just a yummy weeknight dinner.
For the salad:
bunch of arugula
chunk of gorgonzola or blue cheese
1/2 cup toasted walnuts (or pecans)
2 Golden Delicious Apples
1-2 tablespoons olive oil (eyeball it)
For the dressing*:
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 teaspoon spicy mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1. Slice the apples about 1/4 inch thick. Drizzle a little oil in a large sauté pan and heat over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, drop the slices in without overcrowding. You may need to do this in batches. Let them cook on each side for about 3-5 minutes or until golden brown.
2. When the apples are done, set them to drain on a paper towel-lined plate, and get on with the rest of the salad. Toss the arugula with the nuts, cheese and cooled apples slices.
3. Make the dressing: Stir together the shallot pieces, mustard, honey and vinegar. Once combined, slowly whisk in the olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste.
4. Add the dressing to the salad bowl and toss until all leaves are covered. *You may not need all of the dressing; the rest can be stored for later use.