This apple, Parmesan, and mixed green salad brings together a few simple ingredients to a sophisticated effect. Effortless and elegant, what could be better? Oh yeah, it’s healthy, too.
The combination of these ingredients makes a beautiful salad. Use the best-quality Parmesan you can find. It makes a world of difference. That doesn’t mean the pulverized stuff that comes in a tall green can but rather a chunk of really quite lovely stuff that you grab at your local Italian deli or cheese shop. Although really, “best-quality” pertains to all the ingredients in this recipe, because given that there are so few, each stands out. Think in-season apples and greenhouse baby greens from the farmers market. If you happen to have kids or houseguests who seem to need something productive to do with their time, by all means, buy walnuts in the shell and task your bored loved ones with prying them open.–Gena Knox
Apple, Parmesan, and Mixed Green Salad
For the dressing
- 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
For the salad
- 5 cups mixed greens
- 1 Braeburn or Gala apple* thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup walnuts lightly toasted
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese curls (made by drawing a vegetable peeler across the surface of a chunk of cheese)
*What Kind Of Apples Are Best For Salads?The best apples for salad are the kind that you love to eat right out of hand, but with the added benefit of not browning quickly and being able to hold its shape for a little bit. You want something with a combination of sweet and tart, crunchy and juicy. So, what does that leave you with? Braeburn and Gala, like Knox suggests, but you’ll find Ambrosia, Cortland, and Honeycrisp are also terrific choices.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This salad was simply delicious. The spoonful of honey helped to round out the bite of the mustard and vinegar, and the flavor of the mustard shone through without being overpowering. The apples, nuts, and Parmesan were a complementary combination. I thought there was a bit too much dressing and Parmesan, so next time I’ll add those ingredients to taste, but otherwise, this was a very easy and wonderful salad.
I know it’s a simple recipe, but sometimes even those need to be noted and placed in a file. I may make this dressing without the water, but I will definitely leave in the sherry vinegar. It leaves a milder finish than balsamic or other kinds of vinegar, and I like the balance against the apples in the salad. I like my salad lightly dressed, so I had enough dressing for the four plates. I think it would also be nice to switch the Parmesan for some good goat cheese.
Originally published January 14, 2008