I call this “Farmhouse Salad” because I used an aged Farmhouse White Cheddar Cheese to make the cheese sticks that top the dish. Also, I think the word “farmhouse” somehow conjures a feeling of coziness and comfort, and this salad definitely lives up to that. The warm, gooey cheese sticks, sautéed apples, toasted pecans, and honey mustard vinaigrette are comfy, homey foods for those cool fall and winter days.
I made this salad as a light main dish. If you need a more substantial dinner with plenty of protein, however, it would make a great side salad. Pair it with roasted chicken or pork tenderloin, perhaps a loaf of country bread on the side, and you’d have a great, full meal.
(Note: These portions are for two light meal main dish salads. Adjust the ingredients as necessary to fit your purpose and portions. )
spring greens (two full plates)
1 apple, cored and sliced
½ cup pecans
3 thick (about ¾”) slices of aged White Cheddar Cheese
1 cup flour
1 cup bread crumbs
several cups of canola oil for frying
a pat of butter
(Note: The amounts you see below are only approximates. I rarely measure. Apologies!)
¼ cup hazelnut or walnut oil
1/8 cup white wine vinegar
1-2 tbsp. brown mustard
1-2 tbsp. honey
a couple sprigs of fresh thyme
Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients. Let sit while you prepare the rest of the salad, then give a final vigorous whisk before serving.
In a small sauté pan, heat enough canola oil to fry the cheese sticks.
In three separate pans (I use pie pans), place the bread crumbs, flour, and eggs. Beat the eggs well. Cut your cheese into thick slices (about 3/4 of an inch), then cut them in half length-wise, and width-wise, if you choose. Dip the cheese sticks first in flour, then in the eggs, then in the bread crumbs. Fry until crisp. Remove from oil and place on paper towels to drain.
In the meantime, slice and core your apple. Sauté the slices in a pat of butter until just softening. You can add the pecans to the apples at this point, and let them heat through, or toast them separately.
To assemble the salad, place a healthy serving of spring greens on your plate. Arrange the apple slices around the perimeter, sprinkle the pecans over everything, and drizzle with dressing. Don’t toss. Mound the cheese sticks in the center and serve.