Fresh Apple-Mint Salad

I love apples.  What??  Its summer!  I know and I love summer fruit.  But I find that when I’m packing my lunch bag (yes I do! Every work day; why pay for lunch when I can bring a better one), I’m always putting an apple in there.  If I try to put a peach in there, it always ends up bruised by lunch time.  I can take a walk at lunch time and eat it on the go.  Summer fruit is soft.  After my lunch, I want something crunchy and sweet; apple it is.  I eat my peaches in the morning and watermelon on the back porch.

Tonight was just a sandwich night, but I decided to make a little side-dish.  Something to compliment a smoked ham and swiss on pumpernickel.  I had apples and my herbs are growing like gang busters.  So I decided to try making an apple salad without the mayo or the yogurt.  Something that would let them shine for the wonderful thing they are: sweet and crunchy.  I’m talking about Pink Lady apples.  Similar to Honey-Crisps but less expensive.  The Lady apple is one of the oldest varieties cultivated. They are my favorite apple-hands down.

I’ve seen pictures of recipes for apple slaw with matchstick pieces of apple.  All I could think was “how long did that take to cut up!”  I wanted small pieces, but I still wanted the crunch.  I got out my apple slicer-you know that round thing in your drawer that slices and cores apples-please tell me you have one!  I used it first.  Then I cut each slice in half length-wise and then I sliced them across.  This gives you small pieces that mix well, but still have their crunch.  Best of all-cutting up 3 apples took less than 5 minutes.

I used a little lime juice to keep the apples from browning.  Added honey to compensate for the lime tartness.  Added walnuts, cinnamon, and dried cranberries as a compliment to the apples.  I paired the mint with cilantro.  These two herbs are used in classic combination quite often in cooking.  Both have strong flavors, but when combined tend to mellow and have an ability to just make whatever they are paired with taste better.

After I made my little concoction I asked my son Aidan to taste it. I often look to him to tell me what I forgot to add.   He took a small bite off the spoon and quickly took the rest.  He looked at me and said “I can’t think of anything else that it needs….can I have another bite?”

You’ll need:  Makes 4-5 servings

3 large Pink Lady apples (or similar sweet crunchy variety), cut into small pieces as described above

2 tsp lime juice

1 Tbs vegetable oil

2 tsp local honey

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro

1/4 cup fresh chopped mint

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Place chopped apples in medium size bowl.  Add lime juice, oil and toss to coat.  Add remaining ingredients and toss again.  Serve immediately.  Enjoy!

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