They’re crunchy and delicious out of hand. Not to mention crazy nutritious. But autumn’s favorite fruit is even more spectacular when it plays nice with others in dishes – both sweet and savory. Think sliced, then tossed into a salad with fresh greens and salty cheddar cheese, roasted until super-sweet, and pureed into a velvety soup.
Ashley Johnson, whose husband, Steven, is a sixth-generation apple farmer at Apple Castle in New Wilmington, Lawrence County, also is seeing great demand for Honeycrisp, along with old-fashioned favorites Jonagold and McIntosh.
“People really enjoy hard, sweet apples,” she says, adding that her customers seem to be eating a lot more apples than baking with them.
FALL GREENS WITH APPLES, PECANS AND CHEDDAR
12 ounces assorted chicories, such as radicchio, Belgian endive, watercress and spinach
1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped herbs or fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, plus more for serving
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces aged cheddar, crumbled (about 1 cup)
3/4 cup fried or toasted pecans
1 green apple, cored, quartered and shaved on a mandoline
1 red apple, cored, quartered and shaved on a mandoline
Wash greens and spin dry. Refrigerate in an airtight container, with a damp paper tower over them to absorb any lingering moisture, until ready to use or up to overnight.
Put greens in a large bowl and scatter the shallot and herb mix over them. Drizzle oil and vinegar over salad, and season with salt and pepper. Add cheddar and pecans, and toss.
Divide salad among 4 plates and arrange apples over the salad, covering it. Drizzle a little oil and vinegar over the apples, and season with salt and pepper.
– “Battersby: Extraordinary Food from an Ordinary Kitchen” by Joseph Ogrodnek, Walter Stern and Andrew Friedman (Grand Central Life & Style, Oct. 2015, $35)
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PUMPKIN AND APPLE SOUP
Granny Smith apples and candied nuts add a touch of sweetness to this velvety pumpkin soup. Serves 6.
3 pounds sugar pumpkins, seeded and halved
Oil for greasing pumpkin
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small white onion, chopped
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 cup unfiltered apple cider
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Candied walnuts, for garnish (I used pecans)
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and finely diced, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Oil the inside of the pumpkin halves, and season with salt. Place cut-side down on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, or until the pumpkin meat is fork-tender. Remove from the oven. When it’s cool enough to handle, use a spoon to scoop out the roasted pumpkin. Set aside.
In a large pot, melt butter over moderate heat. Once butter begins to brown, add the onion and saute for 5 minutes. Add apple, garlic, brown sugar, cinnamon, white pepper, nutmeg and cayenne, and cook for 3 minutes. Add the roasted pumpkin, broth and cider, stirring to incorporate, then season with salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in the cream and let cool for 10 minutes.
Transfer soup to a blender (or use an immersion blender in the pot) and puree until smooth. If needed, add additional water or broth to reach the desired consistency. Return the mixture to the saucepan. Serve warm, and garnish with freshly diced apple and candied walnuts.
– Food & Wine