Apple & Cheddar Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

Apple & Cheddar Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

Apple & Cheddar Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

I’m sure when I grew up in the “olden days” there was a variety of apples available, but really, all I remember was the Red Delicious Apple. Now I certainly don’t want to offend any apple growers out there who grow the Red Delicious, or insult avid fans of the Red Delicious, but it’s because of that particular fruit that I never really took a liking to apples. ¬†Unfortunately the Red Delicious is a mealy apple that’s not crisp or sweet or appealing in any way. Please don’t be mad at me for saying this, but I think it’s the truth.

Okay, fast forward to modern times. So, I walk into my local Whole Foods the other day and was overwhelmed by the sheer variety of apples they had for sale. You name it, Gala, Fuji, Jazz, Honeycrisp and Ambrosia, just to name a few. I couldn’t decide which variety to go with, so I bought them all.

Now, armed with a plethora of fall apples, came the decision of what to do with them. I had been to a restaurant the day before call Gjelina in Venice, California (which was quite hip and happening, I must say) and had their apple salad. I loved it so much I decided to recreate it at home. This Apple & Cheddar Salad is the perfect beginning to an autumn dinner or a Saturday brunch. The sweet crunch of the apples goes perfectly with the saltiness of the cheese.

Apple & Cheddar Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

Apple & Cheddar Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

Apple & Cheddar Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 2 large crisp apples, any variety
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 4 ounces of good quality cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 head of mustard greens
  • Mustard Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 cup, plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Place first 6 ingredients in a small jar and shake real well. Add in the olive oil and shake vigorously again so that dressing begins to thicken. I make the dressing a day in advance so that the flavors meld together. Refrigerate for up to one week.

Directions

  1. Place pine nuts in a small, frying pan over medium heat. Stir constantly until nuts begin to brown and release their natural oils. Place in a small dish to cool and set aside.
  2. With a sharp knife, chop your celery stalks crosswise into thin slices, or use a mandolin. Set aside.
  3. Thinly chop your mustard greens (chiffonade) and toss into a bowl or your can individually plate 4 separate salads.
  4. With a sharp knife, thinly slice the cheddar cheese and set aside.
  5. You can use a mandolin to slice the apples in round slices, or use a sharp knife to slice the apples into thin wedges, removing the core and seeds. Place the apple slices into a bowl of acidulated water. When you’re ready to plate your salad, take slices out of water, and pat dry.
  6. Plate all ingredients onto individual plates, or combine into a large bowl and toss with vinaigrette.

Makes 4 appetizer sized salads

Mustard Vinaigrette

Mustard Vinaigrette

Apple & Cheddar Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

Apple & Cheddar Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

Mama’s Tips

To stop fruit from oxidizing, place fruit in a bowl of 1 cup cold water to 1 tablespoon of lemon or lime juice. Increase the amount of water/juice depending on how much fruit you are using. When you’re ready to use the fruit, just pat dry with a paper towel.

Crisp Fall apples make a perfect salad.

Crisp Fall apples make a perfect salad.

Recipe: Easy