I’m not on my own for dinner often, but when I am, salad is what I crave. In my book, crunchy freshness is a must, but a memorable salad also includes sweet, tangy, and salty flavors.
It’s mid-January, but our Farmers Market is full of colorful, inspiring produce: green and purple cabbages, red and candy-striped radishes, burnt orange persimmons, blood oranges with their rosy blush, and what surprises me most, a mix of summer berries.
And, for a few more weeks, I still can buy the true workhorse of the American diet, apples. Most months of the year, I eat an apple daily. I also love to bake with them — sweet and savory dishes — and I enjoy them in fruit and green salads. For this salad, I chose bracing Granny Smiths. Pink Ladies, Fujis or Braeburns, which combine sweet and tart flavors, also would work nicely.
I added slices of refreshing Persian cucumbers and red onion to the sliced apples and a crispy mix of greens. Dried tart cherries delivered a chewy, tangy bite, and I love how the deep burgundy color pops next to the pretty shades of green.
With a diverse mix of flavors, I opted for a light dressing, mixing sea salt and freshly-ground pepper with apple cider vinegar and my tastiest extra virgin olive oil. For more depth, I whisked in a touch of sour cherry preserves. The sweet-and-tangy jam complemented the tart apple and played off of the dried fruit. You could substitute honey or even maple syrup if the jam isn’t your cup of tea.
After tossing the salad, I grabbed a handful of my favorite sea-salty blistered almonds from Fat Uncle Farms and sprinkled those across the top. The final touch? Paper-thin slices of nutty sheep’s milk Pecorino Stagionato from C’est Cheese.
The recipe below works for two if you serve the salad with a main. Next time, I think I’ll pair it with a succulent, grilled pork chop or maybe a meaty piece of fish, such as halibut, tuna or swordfish.
- 3-5 handfuls of mixed greens
- 1 small Persian cucumber, thinly sliced
- ¼ small red onion, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup dried cherries
- ½ Granny Smith apple (Fuji, Braeburn or Pink Lady would be nice, too), cored and thinly sliced
- ¼ cup salted blistered almonds (Marcona almonds also are an option)
- 2-3 oz Pecorino Stagionato, shaved
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- freshly-ground pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon cherry preserves (honey or maple syrup are fine substitutes)
- 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (use good finishing oil)
- In a large bowl, add the greens, cucumber slices, sliced red onion, dried cherries and Granny Smith apple slices.
- Make the dressing: whisk together the ingredients and correct the seasoning if necessary. Toss the salad; sprinkle almonds and shave the Pecorino on top. Serve immediately.