This dish was inspired by a dessert I read about in Gabrielle Hamilton’s cookbook, Prune. She makes luscious apple galettes baked in small ramekins with sugar sprinkled between each layer of apples. As I lingered over the photo of this dessert, I thought about making a savory version and preparing the apple so it retains its shape — a sort of deconstructed baked apple. I like having warm elements in salad and felt that this would be intriguing. It is a little time consuming — okay, very time consuming — but ABSOLUTELY worth the effort. Placing the baked apples on a bed of microgreens and sprouts instantly made me think of a bird’s nest — hence the name.
Apple “Bird’s Nest” Salad
- 3 oz (6 tablespoons) butter
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 bunch chives — very finely chopped
- 8 medium-sized apples (Granny Smith or Pippin work well) — peeled, cored and very thinly sliced using a mandolin if possible (see step 3)
- Coarse sea salt and black pepper
- 8 strips smoked bacon
- 8 oz mixed sprouts — a mix of alfalfa, bean, pea and sunflower works well
- 3 tablespoons cilantro leaves
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar or Champagne vinegar
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Melt the butter with the olive oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir in the chives. Remove from the heat.
Slice the apples, keeping each apple’s slices together in a separate stack. Using a small spoon or pastry brush, lightly coat each of the apple slices with the butter-oil-chive mixture and stack the slices to recreate the apple’s shape. Insert two toothpicks about 1 1/2 inches apart into the top of each sliced apple stack to hold the slices together. Place the apples on a rimmed baking sheet or in a roasting pan. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Bake in the center of the oven for 45 minutes.
While the apples are baking, cook the bacon strips until crispy. Drain on a paper towel, let cool, then crumble and set aside.
Whisk together the mustard, olive oil and vinegar in a medium-sized salad bowl. Place salad utensils over the vinaigrette. Place the sprouts on top of the utensils.
When you are ready to serve the salad, toss the sprouts in the vinaigrette. Mound equal portions in the center of each plate so that they resemble a bird’s nest. Place one cooked apple in the center of each “nest.” Remove the toothpicks. Sprinkle each apple with some of the crumbled bacon. Dot each plate with a few cilantro leaves. Serve while the apples are warm.
About Pascale Beale
Surrounded by a family that has always been passionate about food, wine and the arts, Pascale Beale grew up in England and France where she was trained in classical French culinary techniques by her mother and grandmother. Author of A Menu for All Seasons cook book series, and the much acclaimed 2014 success SALADE: Recipes from the Market Table, now in its third printing, her latest title, Les FRUITS: Savory and Sweet Recipes from the Market Table will be released in late 2015. Pascale’s food blog, The Market Table, can be found at PascalesKitchen.com.
Note from the publisher:
Excerpted from Les FRUITS: Savory and Sweet Recipes from the Market Table by Pascale Beale. Copyright 2016 by Pascale Beale. All rights reserved. Excerpted with permission from M27 Editions LLC. No part may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.