Loretta Keller's salad is an unusual and appealing combination of brussels sprout leaves, smoked ham and toasted pine nuts, topped with a piece of local goat cheese (Keller uses Cypress Grove Chèvre's Bermuda Triangle) and a tangy apple vinaigrette. It was conceived by Jennifer Biesty, a former chef at Keller's restaurant.
More Warm Salad Recipes
1 Granny Smith apple—peeled, quartered and cored
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon very finely chopped shallot
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon canola oil
Freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons pine nuts
One 6-ounce piece of smoked ham, cut into 1/3-inch dice
1 pound brussels sprouts, leaves separated and cores discarded
1 Fuji apple, cut into 1/3-inch dice
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
One 4-ounce piece of chilled Bûcheron (semi-aged goat cheese), quartered
1 1/2 teaspoon snipped chives
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 425°. In a small baking dish, toss the Granny Smith apple quarters with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt. Roast the apple quarters for about 15 minutes, until they are very tender and browned in spots.
Scrape the apple and its juices into a blender. Add the water, cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, shallot and the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the blender. With the machine on, slowly pour in 1/2 cup of the canola oil and puree until the dressing is smooth. Season the dressing with salt and pepper and refrigerate.
In a very large skillet, toast the pine nuts over moderate heat, shaking the skillet, until the nuts are golden, about 4 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a plate to cool.
In the same skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of canola oil. Add the ham and cook over moderately high heat until browned in spots, about 2 minutes. Add the brussels sprout leaves and Fuji apple and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the leaves wilt slightly, about 3 minutes. Add the pine nuts, parsley and 6 tablespoons of the apple dressing and cook until warmed through, about 1 minute. (Reserve the remaining dressing for another use.) Season with salt and pepper and transfer to plates.
Heat a medium nonstick skillet over high heat. Set the goat cheese in the skillet and cook undisturbed until the cheese begins to bubble and a golden crust forms, about 1 minute per side. Carefully set the caramelized cheese on top of the warm salads, sprinkle with the chives and serve.
The dressing can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before using.
Keller offers this dish with a hard-to-find Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, but a crisp white would also pair well. Fumé Blanc, a term coined by the late Robert Mondavi as a substitute for Sauvignon Blanc, hints at the smoky minerality that this variety sometimes showswhich makes it a good partner for the smoked ham in Keller's robust salad.
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