Imagine, if you will… a world where caramel apples frolic in fields of green spinach with fluffy goat cheese clouds… Doesn’t that sound lovely? Well brothers and sisters, I have been to this land, and IT IS GOOD. Very good.
I first tasted this dream at Market65, a salad restaurant in downtown Columbus. If you visit and would like to order this salad, it’s the Harvest and is described as Bacon, Spinach, Apple, Slivered Almonds, Dried Cranberries, Goat Cheese with Caramel Apple Vinaigrette. It’s divine.
The vinaigrette is the star of that salad, and after having it two or three times, I started googling for ripoffs. I found this Not Too Virtuous Salad with Caramlized Apple Vinaigrette. The dressing seemed spot on, and while the salad looks good to ME, I had planned to bring this to Thanksgiving, where most of the people attending are culinary lame-o’s and don’t like things like mixed greens, fennel, and celery root. So I knew I’d better stick closer to the salad from Market65 if I wanted any of them to actually eat it. Here’s the resulting recipe which was FANTASTIC. Even some of the fuddy-duddies loved it. I didn’t add caramalized pecans or slivered almonds, but I think they would have been lovely, if not a little too sweet.
Caramelized Apple Vinaigrette
- 2 ounces brown sugar
- 3 ounces plus 1 ounce apple cider vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 gala apple, peeled, cored and medium diced
- 1 lemon
- 4 ounces olive oil
- 2 ounces canola oil
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- In a small skillet over medium heat add 3 ounces vinegar and the sugar. Let it reduce until the color turns a dark caramel color and begins to thicken. You will start to see big foamy bubbles on the surface.
- Add the apples and garlic and sauté until the apples are cooked through, about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Remove from heat and put in the blender with 1 ounce of vinegar, thyme, juice of ½ lemon and a pinch of salt. Woosh until blended, then slowly add the oil. Blend until the dressing is emulsified. Taste and season with salt and perhaps a splash more vinegar.
- I served it on the side of a spinach/bacon/apple salad topped with goat cheese.