You don’t have to ask me twice if I’d like a piece of good, aged cheddar. I’ll nibble on it any day, at any time, in any place. I was eating the crumbs of a hunk of Montgomery’s Cheddar (my husband brought it back for me as a gift for letting him go to London solo), with some apples and roasted, buttered hazelnuts when I first read about the Food52 apple salad challenge. Add a complementary vinaigrette and some soft, Bibb lettuce, and presto-chango, it’s a salad. - cheese1227 —cheese1227
Test Kitchen Notes
Simple to make and delicious, this apple, hazelnut and cheddar cheese salad is a lovely combination of textures and flavors. Sweet honey mustard dressing and tender Bibb lettuce create a nice base for the tart granny smith apples and sharp cheddar. The dried figs were a pleasant chewy surprise. A little extra sprinkle of sea salt heightened all the flavors. —jvcooks
a decent sized bowl
½ cup raw hazelnuts, skins removed
1 Tablespoon butter
good sea salt
1 1/2 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
teaspoon dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey (I used Savannah Bee Co.’s Cheese Honey)
3 Tablespoons hazelnut oil
Freshly ground pepper
1 granny smith apple, sliced as thin as possible
3 cups of Boston bibb lettuce, washed, dried and torn into pieces
dried calymyrna figs, roughly chopped
2 ounces of a really good, aged cheddar (I used Montegomery’s Cheddar), one that crumbles well.
In This Recipe
Preheat oven at 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
Melt butter and combine it with the hazelnuts and a couple pinches of sea salt.
Toast in the oven until they are nicely browned. This happens quickly. Cool completely. Put them in a plastic bag and give them a whack with a meat mallet so they are broken apart a bit.
In the bottom of a large bowl, combine vinegar, dry mustard, and honey. Whisk in the oil. Add pepper to taste.
Add the apples and lettuce to the vinaigrette and toss to coat completely.
Sprinkle in the hazelnuts and figs and crumble the cheddar on top and serve.
I am an excellent eater (I have been all my life). I’m a pretty good cook (Ask my kids!). And my passable writing improves with alcohol (whether it's the writer or the reader that needs to drink varies by sentence.). I just published my first cookbook, Green Plate Special, which focuses on delicious recipes that help every day cooks eat more sustainably.