This past weekend, I went to the Virginia Wine Expo in Richmond, Va. In case you didn’t know, there are over 200+ wineries in Virginia, many of which were in attendance. I had the opportunity to try an excellent hard apple cider, a Viking-era mead (honey wine), some great regional reds and a delicious Red Apple Balsamic Vinegar I purchased from the good folks at The Olive Oil Taproom, located in Richmond, VA.
I wasn’t sure how I was going to use the balsamic vinegar, but when I tasted it – it was such a pure, sweet red apple taste – I just had to purchase a bottle. Several friends recommend pork dishes but I don’t usually eat pork, so my mind went immediately to salad dressings and appropriate salads.
After a little research and taste-testing in the kitchen, I decided on an apple salad:
Red Apple Salad
1 – Red Apple, cored and diced
1/4 cup – Toasted Walnuts, halves or small pieces
1 cup – Sweet baby salad greens (lettuce or spinach will do nicely)
1/4 cup – White Stilton cheese w/cranberries, crumbled
Red Apple Vinaigrette
1/4 cup – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup – Red Apple Balsamic Vinegar
2 tbs – unrefined honey, melted ( I used orange blossom honey but any kind will do)
3 tbs – water
1 dash – sea salt
1 dash – cracked pepper
While I’m preparing the salad ingredients, I let the diced apples marinate in just enough vinaigrette to cover. Once the salad is complete, I add the apples and walnuts, toss and add the cheese crumbles on top. Serve immediately or allow to chill in the refrigerator for approximately ten minutes.
This is a sweet, refreshing salad that everyone, from picky little boys to finicky grown men will enjoy.
Oh yes, the wine…
Pairing a wine with a salad can be challenging but is not impossible. Try an off-dry, un-oaked white wine like a Riesling or Gewurztraminer. A dry hard apple cider or mead will also compliment the sweet, crisp fruitiness of the Red Apple Salad.