Time for another Manly Salad! This time it’s my Smokin’ Apple Salad. As I’ve said before, there is no reason a guy can’t eat a salad, get some greens and vitamins, and still feel like he’s eaten a meal with some real, big flavors and some protein and good stuff in it. So whenever I’m doing a salad, I try to make it something I’d want to eat.
Theres nothing wrong with a good chicken caesar salad, but sometimes it’s fun to mix it up a bit and do something a bit different. The smoking apple salad definitely has that covered for you! It adds a bit more sweetness than most salads I do courtesy of the apple butter, but trust me, with the vinegar and smokey, salty flavors, that balances out just fine.
A bit of backstory here, I lived for a long time in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, and besides the great scenery and fresh country air, the next thing we had the most of there was apples. So I ended up having to dream up some pretty creative uses for them. Most places did a fussy Waldorf salad with apples and raisins and a bunch of sweet and fancy stuff. I never liked that idea, as you know, I enjoy a good manly salad! So I figured out a way to make a smokey, sweet and crunchy salad featuring apples that I’d marked on the grill.
You dont have to do that part, its no sense getting the grill going just to mark the sides of a sliced apple, but if you have a gas grill or electric one and its on anyhow to cook some meat or something, this can be a great starter! Here’s what you’ll need to make the salad:
>8 medium -thin slices of crisp green apple
>A handful of cubed cheddar cheese
>4 slices bacon, chopped
>About 20 toasted pecan halves
>8 Grape tomatoes
>Half a cucumber, sliced
>8 baby carrots
>Smokin’ Apple Dressing (recipe follows)
This is a salad I came up with as a way to use apples while avoiding the somewhat tired Waldorf salad. Apples and Cheddar are a classic combination, especially in the North Eastern US such as Pennsylvania, where good yellow cheddar is as likely to grace the top of an apple pie as ice cream. The smoky flavor of the dressing compliments the sweet crisp apples and the cheese beautifully. To start off, you’ll need to grill the apples. If you don’t have a grill, a hot pan will do to color them.
1Get the grill or pan hot and then move it off the flames slightly, you’re primarily just marking the apples. No oil should be needed, just mark them on one side and then flip to the other. All you need is some color on there, they shouldnt be cooked, so a hot pan is important.
2Assemble the salad while the apples are still smokin’ hot. Add the dressing, the greens and then the cheese, cucumber, carrots, tomatoes, and finally the bacon, apples and pecans. As I always say, you want your really cool ingredients to be on the top so everyone can see them.
For the dressing:
>1 cup White House Apple Butter
>1 cup apple cider vinegar
>2 cups vegetable oil
>1 tsp thyme
>Salt and pepper to taste
>2 tsps liquid hickory smoke seasoning
3Blend all ingredients except the oil together and then slowly add in the oil, continuing until the dressing is well incorporated and homogenous. This dressing will also make a great marinade for chicken or pork, so keep any extra in the fridge and marinate chicken or pork for maybe 2-24 hours before cooking. It has a great sweet and tangy and smokey flavor, almost like a BBQ sauce! If it separates just whisk it back togeter.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this latest manly salad, and if you give it a try, let me know how it goes in the comments! Next time I’ll be giving out some fun grilling tips, though probably not for how to grill apples!