This is the recipe I use to make a weekly apple salad during the fall. I vary ingredients slightly and this week kale, cabbage and pomegranate all won a place in the salad. Last weekend, our annual apple picking trip to the North Georgia mountains was a bit of a bust with Disneyish lines at the orchards. We bailed and picked our farm fresh apples from bins.
We still had our fill of apple cider donuts, fried apple hand pies, apple fritters, and apple cider. We also found local sorghum, spectacular elephant garlic, and muscadine slushies at roadside stands.
Lacinato kale, also called dinosaur, black or Tuscan kale, is the perfect hearty green for an apple salad. It is less grassy and more sweet than curly varieties. With cool weather here to stay, kale is at the farmer’s market in force. To use, the middle stem first needs to be cut out and the leaves layered and cut into thin strips. The term for cutting leaves into ribbons in this way is chiffonade. Just the word brings back memories of chiffonading massive quantities of basil years ago as a lowly garde manger at a fancy restaurant.
Cabbage is still an undervalued salad companion providing a clean crunch that doesn’t compete with other flavors the way carrots or celery might. Both cabbage and kale are members of the mustard family and, along with the coarse mustard in the vinaigrette, complement each other in flavor and texture.
Pomegranate arils (aka as seeds) add vivid color, a pop of flavor and a nut-like crunch to the salad. Pomegranate season is from October through February so I wait patiently each fall for these treasures to reappear. I have never seen pomegranates at the farmer’s market although I recently saw bushes with both flowers and fruit at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Most U.S. pomegranates are grown in California and Arizona so they are more of a novelty when grown locally. I have been pining for fresh pomegranates and last week when they reappeared in abundance at the supermarket I did a little happy dance. As an added bonus they were only $1 each!
Removing the arils is a matter of cutting the pomegranate in half along the middle, turning each half upside down over a large bowl and spanking it firmly with a wooden spoon to get out every last shiny jewel. BTW, I think spanking is better suited to fruit than people so I am trying to change the usage one blog post at a time 😉
The vinaigrette is purposefully sweet yet balanced out with shallots, whole grain mustard as well as apple cider; apple’s distant relative.
Apple half slices are tossed in lemon juice to protect them from oxidizing. This method also adds a distinct tartness to the salad separate from the vinaigrette. Mellow spices make this is more of a fruit salad with savory ingredients than a green salad with bits of fruit added. The apples and kale are added in equal part to drive home this message.
Hopefully this striking and vibrant salad will also become one of your favorites. It is entirely appropriate to eat for breakfast, snacks, lunch or dinner! It is also an eye-catching and bright tasting salad to make for Holiday celebrations.
Apple Salad with Cabbage, Kale, Pomegranate Arils
and Maple Mustard Vinaigrette
2 tsp course ground Dijon mustard
2 Tbs. maple syrup
3 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 Tbs finely diced shallot
1 tsp finely minced garlic
3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs. lemon juice
3 cups apple – peeled, cored, and cut into quarters then sliced thin
3 cups chiffonade of dinosaur kale – briefly massaged by hand with 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil until slightly darker and a little shiny
2 cups thinly sliced cabbage – hand cut is preferable to shredded
½ cup pomegranate arils
- Mix mustard, maple syrup, cider vinegar, salt, cinnamon, nutmet, cayenne and black pepper, shallot and garlic together in small bowl. Slowly whisk in olive oil until oil is well incorporated.
- In large bowl mix apples with lemon juice. Add kale, cabbage, and pomegranate arils to apples.
- Add enough vinaigrette to just coat salad. (There may be a tiny bit left for another day.)