I’m a sucker for anything crunchy in my salad, especially apples. tart green apples and I love them in any size and shape. So does my over-size lion pooch – who will gladly eat firm green apples full time over his dry cereal, if i only let him. I’m not a night eater but if I go to bed on an empty stomach I know the growling sound will wake me up around midnight, demanding a fair share the others had before – food. I’d get up and go downstairs, grab a nice firm green apple, peel it, slice it (very quietly so not to wake up anyone) and eat it with satisfaction. While calming my hungry stomach I’d look down with my mouth full and notice two huge round eyes staring at me, begging in the dark, and a happy wagging little tail. My pooch. He’s a sucker for green apples as much as I am.
I remember as a child I went to family weddings with my parents, we would sit around a beautiful table setting and the first thing I noticed was the variety of salads, but one in particular was apples and celery in a mayonnaise dressing. The dressing was too heavy for my taste so I fished out the apple slices, wipe them clean with paper napkins and ate. I did it every time.
Apples are satisfying and delicious, a first fruit choice in my list to incorporate into my cooking. Inspired by my childhood I made this apple salad with a twist – instead of celery and the usual ingredients, I used grilled artichokes instead, nuts, fresh parsley in a light lemon/mayonnaise dressing. I’m not a big fan of creamy dressing so this salad is textured and gets extra punch with nut crunch and lemon. Beautiful.
crunchy apples and pecans
So friends, shall we?
2 tart apples (peeled & cored)
1 cup sliced artichoke hearts (sold frozen in almost any supermarket) (thawed, unless you use fresh)
1/2 c. walnuts or pecans
3 whooping tbsp light mayonnaise
1 tsp crushed caraway seeds
3 tbsp lemon juice
zest of one lemon
kosher salt and black pepper to taste
3 tbsp olive oil
Rinse the thawed artichoke hearts, dry them well with paper towel and sautee in olive oil, low/medium heat until edges are crispy. Shake the pan every once in a while. If the artichokes are dry to begin with they will brown nicely. Remove from pan and set aside to cool. In a large bowl combine the spices, mayonnaise, 2 tbsp lemon juice and zest. Whisk well to combine. Adjust taste to your liking. Set aside. In the meantime, chop the parsley and add it to the dressing bowl, slice the apples (I like medium/thick slices) and add to the bowl as well along with chopped nuts and the cooled artichokes. Gently fold and toss everything until well coated. Chill for at least half an hour before serving to intensify flavors. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.
While I prepared this salad to go with my Moroccan chicken, the conversation with my hungry 10 yr old who was watching me went something like this:
my lovely: “..mom what are you making?”
my lovely: “mom. what kind? wait!! are these apples?!!” (pointing, like she didn’t know)
my lovely: “mom! are you gonna put that in the food??” (she gave me the look like i just gave birth to an elephant)
my lovely: (in a clear voice) “well I am not eating!!”.
me: “good. more for us”.