Did your mom ever make apples and cheese as a snack for you when you were a kid? Have you ever had an apple with salt on it? – preferably a granny smith apple? Well, if you haven’t experienced either of these combos, you need to. So, you’re welcome, here is a salad the beautifully incorporates both of them at the same time. I have had apples and fennel together, apples and cheese together and apples and salt together — the all meld together a wonderfully as I had hoped. The fennel adds an interesting twist – if you have ever been near fennel when it is being cut up it, oddly enough, smells very strongly of licorice – luckily it doesn’t exactly taste like licorice.
I wish I was looking out at a beautiful spring day, but no, here in Minnesota winter is hanging on… and hanging on….. you get the picture. I feel as if I am going to have to pull out my chili recipes again (I knew I shouldn’t have put those away – I jinxed us- damnit). But, I am stubborn, so I will continue on with my lighter fare despite the weather (or in spite of it).
It’s the salt, by the way, that really makes this salad. And the texture combination of the crunchy fennel, the crisp apples and the soft cheese – and again – the hit of the salt. So good.
The recipe itself is quite simple – slice fennel, apples and cheese (I suppose it doesn’t have to be Manchego – whatever suits you). Layer on a plate along with basil – drizzle with olive oil and salt.
[Stumped as to how to go about slicing fennel – click here for a quick rundown]
You could also serve it differently if you wanted something easier for larger groups by cutting up the ingredients into smaller chunks and simply placing them in a serving bowl.
- 1 large honeycrisp apple, sliced
- 1 fennel bulb, sliced
- 8 slices of Manchego cheese
- 4 Teaspoons olive oil
- 1 Teaspoon kosher salt
- approx. 20 basil leaves
- For each plate lay down slices as follows: apple, cheese, fennel, apple, cheese, fennel, apple.
- Lay basil down on top in a random pattern (5 per plate).
- Drizzle approximately 1 Tablespoon of olive oil per plate.
- Sprinkle approximately ¼ Teaspoon salt per plate.
- (for alternative method: mix together 1 and ½ cup roughly chopped apple, ¾ cup roughly chopped fennel, ¾ cup chunked cheese, 3 Tablespoons olive oil, ¾ cup roughly chopped basil, and approx.1/2 Teaspoon kosher salt).