Every year, I patiently wait until late summer for the ever-so-brief pink pearl apple season. These gorgeous, crisp, juicy, tart apples vary in color from mottled pink and white to vivid crimson and inspire all kinds of recipes to show off their taste and beauty. I buy them from the Hale’s Apple Farm booth at the downtown Palo Alto farmers market, where they’re in season for just a few short weeks, usually beginning in late August or early September. While these taste great, it’s the magnificent color that sets them apart. They retain their color in apple tarts and crostadas and even fresh apple sauces. But I like these apples best in raw preparations like a fast, delicious starter or salad replacement such as this combo of thin-sliced apples, roasted walnuts, cheese (pick your favorite) and fresh herbs. If the companion ingredients are on hand, this comes together in a few minutes and is light and utterly delicious. It will taste the same made with regular apples, but the pink pearls make it memorable. Pink Pearl Apple Carpaccio
Serves 2 as a salad or starter
1 pink pearl apple, cored and sliced thin (preferable on a mandoline)
walnuts, roasted (ideally, they’re still a little warm when assembling salad)
fresh lemon juice (preferably, Meyer lemons, which are less tart)
walnut oil (imported French brands or La Tourangelle)
cheese (see below) in small chunks, little slices or cubes
chopped fresh herbs (a combo of parsley, mint and cilantro)
– Fan out apple slices on two plates (see photo) or as desired. Drizzle just a little bit of lemon juice across the slices, then drizzle walnut oil across them. The apples will not be drenched in this; use just a little.
– Walnuts should be roasted at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until toasted. Do not burn them. Pieces of walnut are sprinkled across the apple slices.
– Cheese: Blue cheese lovers, go for it here. A good choice is Point Reyes blue. Crumble blue cheese and sprinkle across apple slices (see photo below). This salad is wonderful with a medium or sharp cheddar as well.
– Toss some chopped herbs across the top. I use more herbs than shown in these photos because I like the taste but the rest of the salad wouldn’t have been as visible in my photos with heaps of herbs.
Another terrific way of showing off these delicious pink pearl apples is in an endive-apple salad. The recipe is on the blog here.