I have a confession. Rarely, when a Food 52 theme is announced, do I go into experimentation mode. I usually either have a dish in the lexicon that will qualify, or I have one that's close enough I can just tweak. This week is different. I got up this morning determined to come up with something different from anything I've ever made for the apple salad theme, particularly as we've been warned off Waldorfs (which I could eat four days a week; sue me!). I knew I wanted to pair my apples with meat and cheese. And here's where I wound up. It ain't half bad, if I do say so myownself. Sorry, no photo, but I left my camera in Memphis over Christmas and haven't made my way back to get it. - Kayb —Kayb
Test Kitchen Notes
Since I was a kid I have been a huge fan of Waldorf Salad. But over the years, it seems to have fallen out of favor. So I adore this recipe—it’s like Waldorf Salad all grown up! The textural variation between the cranberries, apples, bacon and walnuts make every bite exciting and remind me of my old favorite. The honey balsamic vinaigrette gives it a totally new flavor profile. The sweet and smokey aspects give a fabulous balance to the dish. I also like that the dressing is brown so oxidation and discoloration of the apples is not an issue, allowing this dish to be made ahead of time. The salad uses ingredients that are generally always on hand, and I see me taking this to neighborhood barbeques this summer. It really is a versatile dish and can be served year round! —epickles
Honey Balsamic Viniagrette
good balsamic vinegar
your favorite olive oil
honey -- start with three, then go to taste from that point
Honey Crisp apples, sliced
slices good smoked bacon, fried crisp and crumbled
Whisk all ingredients together. If you're ambitous, you can whisk everything and then whisk in the olive oil, making an emulsion that won't separate; I find it easier to just whisk it or shake it before I apply it. Set dressing aside.
Sliced unpeeled apples and arrange in a spiral patttern on a salad plate. Or, if presentation is not an issue, dice and put in a bowl.
Toss together the bacon, cranberries and walnuts. Put a portion of the topping over each plate of apples, or atop the apples in the bowl.
Drizzle viniagrette over salad. If you're working in a bowl, go ahead and toss, to get the apples nicely coated and turn them brown in advance of oxydation doing so.
Crumble feta cheese atop each portion, or the entire bowl.
I'm a business professional who learned to cook early on, and have expanded my tastes and my skills as I've traveled and been exposed to new cuisines and new dishes. I love fresh vegetables, any kind of protein on the grill, and breakfasts that involve fried eggs with runny yolks. My recipes tend toward the simple and the Southern, with bits of Asia or the Mediterranean or Mexico thrown in here and there. And a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a float in the lake, as pictured, is a pretty fine lunch!