It was love at first bite the first time I tasted a fresh, Honey Crisp apple some years back. I had never heard of this type of apple, but the name alone sounded absolutely mouthwatering and enticing. Firm to the touch, it had a distinct, satisfyingly crisp snap that was unlike any other apple I had ever bitten into; and the fresh, perfectly sweetly tart juice was so abundant that it dripped down my chin without my even minding it one little bit. Glorious! Each bite of this scrumptious piece of nature was a pleasure, and by the time I had finished it, my belly was full and happy. And I was hooked for life. Chances are, if you’ve ever eaten a Honey Crisp apple yourself, you surely know of what I speak.
There are things that God provides us through nature that truly are a pleasure to enjoy; that is their very purpose. Not only are they a pleasure to the taste buds, but to the very fibers of our physical beings, as they marvelously feed us the needed nutrients and living vitamins we can’t live without. They contain such colorful flavor and such satisfaction to the senses on every level that very little needs to be done with these gems that nature produces, save perhaps a couple of flourishes just to highlight what they already bring to the table. And for me, nothing is more exciting than simply and gorgeously tossing together a handful of fresh, clean ingredients to create that perfect seasonally inspired plate.
A sweet, crunchy apple salad is they very type of seasonal snack or light meal that sounds so appealing to me during this time of the year. The crispness of tart, juicy Honey Crisp apples; the sweet, toasty crunch of candied walnuts; the peppery hints of the strewn greens, all drizzled with a spiced cider vinaigrette, are what the flavors of early October are all about for me. And getting creative with what’s available in abundance right now is all a part of the pleasure. Go on. Take a bite.
Taste what’s good and pass it on.
Honey Crisp Apple Salad with Candied Walnuts and Sweet Spiced Cider Vinaigrette
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(Serves about 4)
2 heads frisee, chopped into bite-size pieces
4 cups wild arugula
1 cup candied walnuts
2 large Honey Crisp apples, sliced into thin matchsticks
• Spiced Cider Vinaigrette (recipe below)
-In a large bowl, add the frisee, arugula, walnuts and about half of the matchstick-sliced apples, and drizzle lightly with some of the Spiced Cider Vinaigrette; add equal portions of the salad to bowls or plates, and then top each salad with equal portions of the remaining matchstick-sliced apples and another generous drizzle of the vinaigrette; serve as is, or garnish with a few additional candied walnuts.
Spiced Cider Vinaigrette ingredients:
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 ½ tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons walnuts, lightly chopped (you can use candied or plain)
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon plus a pinch salt
• Pinch cumin
• Pinch curry powder
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons canola oil
-Add all ingredients through the curry powder into the bowl of a food processor, and process until everything is well combined and smooth; with the processor running, slowly drizzle in the oil and continue to process until the vinaigrette is well emulsified and blended.
(*This makes about 1 cup, so you may have additional dressing left over which you can store in the fridge.)