Apple, Radish and Marcona Almond salad
Inspired by Mesa
This salad was inspired by a salad that is served at Mesa restaurant in Costa Mesa. Mesa stacks big slices of Pink Lady apples, aged gouda cheese, Marcona almonds and sprinkles of fresh tarragon and dresses it all with an apple cider vinaigrette. The result is fresh, healthy and very tasty. But then again, thanks to chef Nikki Starr, all of the food at Mesa is scrumptious. We particularly enjoy Mesa's Ahi Tuna Tacos and their Mushroom and Leek pizza.
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My Apple Salad Rendition
I seriously borrowed from Chef Nikki's salad, starting with large, thin slices of apples. I used my mandolin to achieve these uniform slices. I begin with a bed of butter lettuce and build a layered salad with Granny Smith and Gala apple slices, colorful Easter Egg radishes and generous slices of Kerrygold Red Leicester cheese. I sprinkled the salad with fresh tarragon, chives and Marcona almonds and dressed it with a walnut oil, Spanish Sherry vinegar and Pommery mustard dressing. Yum! I think you will enjoy this fresh, crisp and satisfying salad, particularly as the new crop of apples appear in the market in the coming months.
- 1 head of butter lettuce, rinsed and leaves kept whole
- 2 t Pommery mustard or other whole grain mustard
- 2 T Spanish Sherry vinegar
- 6 T walnut oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Juice from half a lemon
- 1 Gala apple, sliced using a mandolin set at ⅛th inch
- 1 Granny Smith apple , sliced using a mandolin set at ⅛th'
- 4 ounces Kerrygold Red Leicester cheese, or other tangy cheddar cheese
- 4 large radishes, sliced using a mandolin set at ⅛"
- ½ cup whole salted Marcona almonds
- 2 T fresh tarragon leaves
- 2 T fresh chives, chopped
- Rinse, dry and chill butter lettuce leaves. It is best if the lettuce is chilled several hours or even a day in advance so lettuce is crisp and dry.
- Make the dressing by putting mustard and vinegar in a small bowl and whisking in the walnut oil. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Fill a small bowl with water and add lemon juice. Slice the apples using the mandolin, or a sharp knife if you are skilled. Put the apples in the lemon water for a few minutes then drain and dry. Slice the radishes using the mandolin.
- Build 4 individual salads a layer at a time, starting by placing three butter lettuce leaves on each plate. Drizzle a little dressing on each lettuce bed and then layer the apples, radishes and cheese on top of the lettuce bed, drizzling a little bit of dressing on each layer.
- Garnish with tarragon, chives and Marcona almonds.