Julia's Dinner Party: Salad Course

Yesterday, I began describing the meal I cooked last weekend to celebrate Julia's graduation with the opening course: cheddar, sage and tomato in puff pastry.

After these mouthwatering opening morsels, I moved the family quickly onto the salad so the main dishes wouldn't get cold. This crisp, sweet and tart interlude was highlighted by apples, parmesan, citrus and maple.

To make the salads, I started by coring and dicing 4 large apples. I chose some red-yellow ones for their constitution and sweetness, but Granny Smith would have been nice too. As I finished each apple I added it to a large metal bowl and squeezed half a lime over the apples to prevent browning, and gave them a stir. By the time I had all four apples done, I had used two limes, which was more than enough to coat all the apples. To the apples I added about half a red onion diced and then 6 ounces of Reggiano parmesan sliced paper thin. I tossed these items lightly and then added about 10 large handfuls of baby spinach on top. I did this so I could save the salad in the fridge before tossing it and not fear the greens becoming wilted.

I then made a very easy maple vinaigrette to go on the salad. I combined red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil in a little plastic container in a three-to-two ratio to get about half a cup. I added two tablespoons of real maple syrup, salt and pepper and covered the plastic with its lid and shook it vigorously for over a minute. The final result was nice and thick, with a good amount of tang and sweet intermingling.

When ready to serve I tossed the salad with all of the dressing, and it coated it well. The salad served 9 generous portions and certainly could have been stretched. The taste itself was very nice. The sweet and sour of the ingredients played well with the sweet and sour of the dressing for a nice light treat before dinner. It's not a new idea for a salad, but I think this was one of the better apple salads I've had. And the table seemed to agree – except Erica, who informed me that apples do not belong in salads. Who knew?

1 comment:

Glenn said...

I suppose some day we will have to take Erica to the Waldorf Astoria in NYC for dinner. That is where the original apple-based Waldorf Salad originated. And, I must say, I disagree with her on this point, because this salad had it all: greens, a little sweetness, tang, and most of all, visual appeal. THIS WAS A GREAT SALAD!! Dad.