When apples take over the produce aisle I know that it's autumn regardless of the local temperature. Apples in shades of red, pink, gold and green are a great addition to all sorts of savory recipes. They add crunch, sweetness, maybe some tartness, and depth to whatever's cooking. At this time of year if you want to perk up your cooking add some apples.
Just about any green salad benefits from the addition of thinly sliced apples. Here are some combinations:
- Arugula or watercress plus sweet-crunchy Jonagold or Gala apples with poppyseed dressing
- Roasted beets (chilled) plus feta cheese plus Braeburn or Pink Lady apples tossed in olive oil with some salt and pepper
- Endive plus Fuji apples plus avocado plus tomatillos tossed with cider vinegar and olive oil
Adding apples to your vegetables is a simple way to bring autumn to your table. Bacon Roasted Brussels's Sprouts, tossed with sliced apples, is one of my favorite vegetable dishes. Roasted cubes of butternut or acorn squash only get better when you add some apples to the recipe (before or after roasting the squash). If you like candied carrots add some apples to your recipe to change things up.
I make Homemade Barely Sweet and Slightly Savory Applesauce with bay leaf and both tart Granny Smith apples and sweet Golden Delicious. The blend of flavors and textures makes it a great side with pork or poultry.
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Browned Chorizo Sausage with Apples is a simple one-skillet entrée - and you can use soy chorizo to make it vegan. It's a chunky-spicy riff on pork chops and applesauce. It starts by sautéing onions and a sliced jalapeno in olive oil. Then I add the chorizo. The apples go in near the end, and if you stir constantly for a minute or two the apples actually deglaze the pan. I use Fujis because I want something sweet to balance the spiciness of the chorizo.
I don't think that apples make every recipe better. I'm not fond of them with beans or broccoli. On the other hand, "eat more fruit" gets a bit easier if we add apples to a tired old recipe or two.
Andy Broder is the chef/owner of AndyFood, A Culinary Studio.