I have to admit, now that I have a little bit of extra time, I’m really starting to enjoy blogging again. Before, I had to constantly remind myself to create at least one new post a month. Now, I can’t stop thinking of new dishes I want to create! The difference a 12 hour work day to a 8 hour work day can make. This period may not last long so be prepared for a flood of recipes in the next couple of weeks! We’re diving right in with my new favorite salad, a fall harvest apple salad.
This apple salad seems so simple but the flavors work so well together. I mean, spiced pecans, baked apple chips, crumbly feta and roasted chicken? How can you go wrong?
- 1 large honey crisp, golden delicious or pink lady apple, thinly sliced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 1/2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
- 1 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup pecan halves
- 1 tbsp butter, melted
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 lb chicken breast
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- salt and pepper
- 12 ounces mesclun greens
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1 small honey crisp, golden delicious or pink lady apple, sliced
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.
- Thinly slice apple using a mandoline. Lay apple slices on prepared baking sheet. Bake apple chips for 45 minutes. Flip over the chips and bake an additional 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
- Meanwhile, prepare apple vinaigrette. Blend garlic - apple cider vinegar. Slowly add oil and emulsify. Set aside.
- Increase oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Prepare spiced pecans. Melt butter and add sugar, cinnamon, cayenne and salt. Toss pecans with spice mixture. Spread pecans onto prepared baking sheet and bake for 7-8 minutes or until golden and toasty. Remove from oven and let cool.
- Roast chicken. Season with salt, pepper and garlic. Roast in oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and no longer pink. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Cut chicken into slices and keep warm.
- Assemble salads. Divide mesclun greens among 2 plates. Top with red onion, feta, dried cranberries, fresh sliced apples, apple chips, toasted pecans and roasted chicken. Drizzle vinaigrette and serve.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
I strongly believe that salads shouldn’t take hours to prepare. This apple salad does take some effort but you can prepare most of the items beforehand to save you time. Bake the apple chips, chicken and spiced pecans the day before and toss everything the last minute for a quick meal. Better yet, purchase apple chips and rotisserie chicken for an even faster approach!
Since all of the ingredients already have a ton of flavor, you can go simple on the roasted chicken. A little garlic, salt and pepper is all you need to season the poultry.
Toss the pecans with the melted butter and spices and bake until toasty. This is probably my favorite way to prepare pecans. They become nice and crunchy and not overly sweet while still retaining that “pecan-y” flavor.
Now for the apple chips. The trick in making the perfect apple chip is to use the right type of apple. I recommend golden delicious, pink lady or honey crisp. These apples hold their shape well when baked.
Use a mandoline to get consistent slices. I sliced my apple very thin to decrease the cooking time. If you want more of a crunch, slice your apples thicker. I’ve had the same results baking and frying the apple chips so the method is up to you. I prefer baking just to keep it a little healthier.
Alternatively, you can also use a dehydrator to prepare the apple slices. Let the chips cool before using as they will crisp up once cool. Make sure to bake a large batch because these also make a wonderful snack!
You can also slice the red onion with the mandoline to get nice thin slices. I soak mine in ice cold water for 10 minutes to help minimize that strong onion taste.
Now time to toss everything together. Crumbled feta, spiced pecans, apple chips, fresh apple, dried cranberries, red onion, roasted chicken and mesclun greens, oh my! This fall harvest apple salad has a little bit of everything to bring you a plate that screams, “it’s fall!” although, I may enjoy this year-round :).
Looking for someone to come to your house and prepare these dishes for you? It is possible! If you are in Los Angeles and looking for a private chef, please feel free to contact me. For more information, visit Private Kitchen Los Angeles.