When it comes to salads, I’m not big fan of the composed variety — as in fussy recipes that call for anything beyond dumping produce in a bowl.
But composed salads — those in which the ingredients are arranged rather than tossed — are among the most attractive. They also often do a better job of letting each ingredient shine. So I was willing to consider trying one on two conditions — the flavors really were phenomenal and the recipe was easy.
To ensure the former, I went with a classic flavor combination — apples, blue cheese, walnuts and lemon juice. For the latter, I made sure that even if the ingredients were arranged, the recipe wasn’t fussy enough to require any particular arrangement. In other words, do it as you see fit.
For deeper flavors, I briefly roasted the apples and carrots. To keep it simple, I used purchased shredded carrots and limited the cutting to just slicing the apples in half. Buy crumbled blue cheese and pretoasted walnuts, and the rest of this salad comes together almost effortlessly.
Roasted Apple And Blue Cheese Salad
1 cup thickly shredded carrots
1/4 cup, plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 large Granny Smith apples
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 cups arugula
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/4 cup chopped, toasted walnuts
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
In a small bowl, toss the shredded carrots with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Arrange in an even layer on the baking sheet.
Peel each apple, then halve it down the center. Use a melon baller to scoop out the core, creating a large cavity at the center of each half.
Arrange the apple halves, cut side up, on the prepared baking sheet. If the apples won’t rest flat, use a knife to trim the rounded sides just enough to form a flat base. Roast the apples and carrots for 12 to 14 minutes, or until the apples are just tender, but not mushy. Remove the carrots from the pan and set aside to cool.
Increase the oven to broil. Leave the apples on the baking sheet and sprinkle them with the brown sugar. Broil for 2 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil, the lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Add the arugula and carrots and toss well to coat.
Carefully place each apple half on a serving plate. Mound a quarter of the arugula mixture onto each half. Sprinkle each salad with blue cheese and walnuts.
Yields four servings.