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Author Notes: I love cumin in a vinaigrette, something my friend Sue had to coax me into trying once. All earthy and sexy, I think it takes the innocent perky apple and sultries her up a little. But don't worry, she'd never leave her best friends cheese and nuts behind. They're going out for a night on the town too, hence the sparkly lemon and cilantro. You decide if the onion is allowed to attend that party, sometimes she is a little overbearing. . . —Sadassa_Ulna
- 1 Head Red Leaf Lettuce
- 2 Apples, any eating variety that's fresh & crispy
- 1/4 bunch (or less) fresh cilantro
- 3-4 ounces Manchego -or other mild -cheese
- 1/2 cup raw walnut halves
- 1/2 cup walnut oil, maybe a little more
- 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1/4 Red Onion, sliced paper thin, optional
- Toast walnut halves in a hot skillet, stirring often, until fragrant, about 3-5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Rinse and pat (or spin) dry lettuce; tear into large bite-size pieces. Arrange in a large serving bowl. This will keep (covered) for several hours/overnight in the fridge if necessary.
- Juice and strain lemon; measure out 2 tbsp. juice into a medium bowl.
- Add walnut oil and 2 tbsp. maple syrup to lemon juice. Whisk vigorously until frothy; sprinkle in cumin, salt and pepper and whisk some more until thoroughly blended. Dip some lettuce into the mix and taste; adjust spices accordingly. This will keep (covered) overnight in the fridge if necessary, however it will need re-whisking (or shake in a lidded jar).
- Quarter the apples and slice lengthwise into thin wedges. Dip a slice into the dressing and taste. Add a little more maple syrup and walnut oil if your apples are more tart than sweet. (Or, add more lemon juice if the apples are really sweet) Drop remaining slices into the vinaigrette as you chop to keep them from turning brown.
- Rinse & dry cilantro and chop coarsely, measure out at least 3 tablespoons. Sprinkle about two thirds over the greens, and save the rest for garnishing. Chop the cooled walnuts, leaving some whole.
- Remove apples from vinaigrette with a fork and arrange on the greens. Toss just the top a little to fluff. Add the walnuts. Garnish with red onion on the side if desired. Stir remaining dressing and drizzle over salad. This can keep up to one hour in the refrigerator in its assembled state.
- Just before serving, use a vegetable peeler to pare the cheese into thin strips directly over the salad. Sprinkle with remaining cilantro, all the while fluffing the top and making it beautiful. Take photos and post to your favorite food website before tossing.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Salad with Apples
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