Red Apple Vinaigrette – A Recipe

balsamic_vinegarThis 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

white stilton cranberry

How do you toast walnuts?

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.

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