An Apple A Day

A healthy harvest has always been a fall focus, so there’s no better time to enjoy the crisp, nutritious apple
Vero Apple17

As we begin to usher in the fall season, October may evoke memories of apple picking, hot cider and changing leaves — at least for those of us who grew up in the Northeast. Whether you’re a lifelong Floridian or a recent transplant, we can all agree the changing season feels a bit different down here by the beach. But as friends return to town from their summer travels and family members begin to visit more as our tropical humidity lifts, why not welcome the change of season with a new harvest-inspired menu? The following hearty salad and refreshing sangria  make for the perfect al fresco lunch or dinner. Looking for an easy way to entertain this fall? A giant chopped salad that can be served in one dish (a bowl) with one utensil (a fork) keeps things streamlined and simple, and a make-ahead pitcher drink like sangria means you can spend time catching up with your guests instead of being stuck behind the bar. Of course, these recipes work just as well if you’re dining alone; the nutrient-rich kale is sturdy and holds up well for leftovers, and the sangria will last a couple days in the fridge, its fruity flavors becoming enhanced with time.

 

Hearty Harvest Salad with Parmesan Vinaigrette and Homemade Croutons

Servings: 4 

This recipe is divided into three parts that can be made all at once or in stages. The dressing can be made a day ahead, but the croutons should be toasted and the salad assembled not long before serving. The recipe calls for Tuscan kale, which you might also see labeled as lacinato kale or dinosaur kale. It has smooth, dark green leaves that are flatter than curly kale and more comfortable to eat. If you find it hard to digest kale, try subbing in romaine for half the greens. If you want additional protein, consider adding a chopped hard-boiled egg or some rotisserie chicken. You could also serve this alongside a piece of grilled salmon or steak.

  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale
  • 1 large apple (try for Gala or Pink Lady),  cored and diced
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas (from a can, rinsed and drained)
  • ½ cup chopped radishes
  • ¼ cup chopped hazelnuts
  • ¼ cup dried cherries
  • 1 avocado, pitted and sliced

Strip the kale leaves away from the tough stems. Chop the leaves into small pieces and discard the stems. Put the chopped kale into a large bowl with plenty of room for tossing. Add the apple, chickpeas, radishes, nuts and cherries. Add half the dressing and toss well to combine the ingredients and coat everything evenly with the dressing. Add more dressing if it’s too dry for your taste.

Categories: Local Flavor