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Romaine Salad with Apple, Red Onion, & Cider Vinaigrette

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Romaine Salad with Apples

I was at school last Wednesday morning and ran into Patrick and Lisa Balistreri.  We got to talking about all things groceries, and they were both raving about the Jazz apples that are on sale this week.  “Blog about apples,” he said.  “We’ve got TONS of Jazz apples this week, and they’re really good!”

“Better than Honey Crisp?” I asked.  Honey Crisp are my official favorite.

“Yep,” Lisa said.  “I like them better than Honey Crisp.”

Well, shut my mouth;  I guess I’ll have to try them.

I’ll tell you the truth:  an apple challenge is not my favorite thing.  First of all, it doesn’t seem early enough in the season for us to all be jumping on the apple cart – I mean, I love cinnamon and cloves just as much as the next gal, but I’m just not mentally prepared for crisps, cobblers, and apple brown bettys.

Secondly (and this is a confession, prepare yourself), I cannot stand fruit in a main course.  Or in a savory salad for that matter, and it’s an odd quirk, I know.  I think I get it from my dad.   Mandarin oranges, strawberries, kiwi, apples … please, don’t put them in my dinner.  Or lunch.  I’ll take fruit with my breakfast and let’s call it a day, thank you very much.

But, since I am a team player, I decided to make this salad which contains – yes, apples.  And you know what?!  I liked it.  I mean, I REALLY, REALLY liked it!  The dressing is terrific – a perfect blend of sweet and tart.  It does have a slight “autumn thing” going on with the nutmeg and ginger, but those flavors are subtle – you’ll hardly know they’re there.  Slivered red onion, crisp romaine, and toasty pecans are a nice compliment to the sweetness of the apples.  We had this salad alongside carry-in pizza on Friday night, but I could see it going well with an autumn dinner party menu as well.  I’m sold!

ROMAINE SALAD WITH APPLE, RED ONION, and CIDER VINAIGRETTE

Serves:  5

Source: adapted from epicurious.com

  • ¾ c. vegetable oil
  • 2 T. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ T. frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
  • 2 T. minced red onion
  • 1 t. salt
  • ¼ t. ground nutmeg
  • ¼ t. ground ginger
  • Hefty pinch of ground black pepper
  • ½ c. julienned red onion
  • 1 Jazz apple (on sale) peeled, cored, and diced
  • 2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • ½ c. chopped pecans, toasted

Whisk first 8 ingredients together in a small bowl for dressing (or, whip it up with a stick blender, which is what I did).  Set aside.

Place chopped romaine in a large salad bowl. Top with apple, onion, and pecans.  Drizzle with dressing, tossing to coat.  Serve on individual plates.

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Leah Damron is an avid home cook who believes in using the freshest ingredients available, and she challenges herself weekly to create meals out of (mostly!) sale items. If Sendik's ever gave a title for "Biggest Fan", she believes she would win, hands down. Leah lives in greater Milwaukee with her husband, three children, and her big black lab, Daisy."

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