Sunday, March 30, 2014

Apple and Escarole Salad with Blue Cheese and Hazelnuts

Salads are the ideal place to showcase apple varieties that are best enjoyed raw. Here, piquant blue cheese, toasty nuts, and slightly bitter escarole are delicious counterpoints to sweet, juicy apples. Though you could use peeled apples, their colorful skin makes them pop visually.

2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs. minced shallot
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
2 oz. whole shelled hazelnuts (about 1/2 cup), toasted and skinned
1 lb. (about 2 large) sweet apples best enjoyed raw (such as Fujis or Galas), quartered, cored, and sliced into thin wedges
1 lb. escarole, torn or cut into bite-size pieces (about 6 cups)
3 oz. blue cheese, crumbled (about 3/4 cup)
1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced length-wise (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, shallot, mustard, and 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper. Whisk in the oil in a slow and steady stream until incorporated.

Put the nuts in a zip-top bag, force out the air, seal the bag, and break the nuts with a meat pounder or a heavy skillet into uneven pieces.

In a large bowl, toss the apples with 1 Tbs. of the dressing. Add the escarole, cheese, onion, parsley, and hazelnuts. Toss with the remaining dressing and serve.


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