Apple and Camembert Harvest Salad for 4

A period sits at the end of my 2009 season, regular Monday afternoon trips to Manhattan commence. Today I chose to drive, not my normal choice as I find the Jitney far more productive, faster, safer and more “footprint friendly”. However it is my duty to return Oliver (corgi) to his “regular” routine as a Central Park tree sniffer.

After a productive lunch shift @ The Little Kitchen we set off on the back roads, as the turn onto North Sea Mecox came into view it occurred to me that the Islands’ best apples were on sale on the east side of the triangle. I’ve been told that the trees on this triangle are special; but I never made time to stop, today was the day for a taste (and for Ollie a last pee) before hitting the LIE.

As we approached I noticed that the table was full and the proprietor on site, she was overjoyed with Oliver & we made friends quickly. I was looking for 2 specific apples, one soft for baking and one crisp and sweet for a matchstix cut that would compliment a sharp cheddar sliced the same way.

When I asked, she smiled and told me that it had been a few years since she had taken a bite of her apples,”Hard to keep track with so few teeth”. The transaction was easy, she had a mixed bag that offered enough for me to make my own choice. It also reminded me how things should be, teach yourself then make your own decisions.
A crisp, sweet apple tells it’s own story, a good baker will be softer, rounder and less assertive on the first bite. In time, if you live near the trees you’ll know which one produces the best results from an oven or on the breakfast table. If you don’t know the tree let the first bite guide the menu.

For the Apple and Camembert Harvest Salad:

serves 4

1 good baking apple
1 crisp sweet apple
1 small wheel Camembert
1 small piece sharp white cheddar
10 stems flat leaf parsley
1 lemon
1/4 cup apple cider
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

For Vinaigrette combine the juice of 1 lemon with apple cider and olive oil, pour into a squeeze bottle and shake. You’ll have lot of extra apple cider vinaigrette so hold it cold for your next fall salad.
Remove the core from the apple, don’t peel it, but remove the core with a thin knife top to bottom. Place the apple on a small baking sheet and pour 1/2 cup of water on the sheet, then wrap with foil. Place in the oven @ 400 degrees for 25 min. or until soft but still firm.

Remove and chill.

Just prior to service slice the crisp apple into thin match sticks and place in a bowl. Then slice the same amount of cheddar to the same size and combine.

Remove the baked apple from the fridge and slice it into thin wedges, then place a slice of camembert on each plate. Top each slice of cheese with a quartet of baked apple slices and then top the apple slices with a smaller piece of cheese (from the rind cut).

On the opposite side of the plate create a pile (2 tablespoons) of the crisp apple/ cheddar matchstix. Garnish with parsley stems and touch the parsley with drops of vinaigrette.

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