Mmm… My palate inspiration from yesterday carried forward. And it worked beautifully. Today I started the day with an Apple Ham salad, where Apple was the star of the show, and really shined. I’m not sure if you have noticed yet, but I work hard to blend ingredients in a way that lets them really speak for themselves, and wherever possible, I augment their voice with some supporting ingredients. Let’s take a look at how I did that today:
The salad was a wonderful blend of greens, as usual, some flavor ingredients, and the leading ingredients. The greens today were wild arugula, chopped in 1 inch squares and some sliced celery. I really like the flavor of the wild arugula, when it’s available, over the standard stuff. It could just be me of course, but I feel like the leaves are a little more crisp, the flavor is more nutty and a little more sharp. I always take wild arugula when it’s available. The celery was used to bring out the sharp or crisp flavor of the Apple, in the hopes that the Apple comes out more in the food. Again, it’s a supporting food, so it’s flavor should either support the Apple, or offer a contributing flavor which adds, but does not subtract from, the overall intent of the dish.
The flavor ingredients consisted of crimini mushrooms (also known as baby bella), avocado, carrots (today I used chopped baby carrots), milled flax seed, and as always: olive oil. The crimini mushrooms contribute a wonderfully subtle nutty flavor, an excellent supporting flavor for the Apple; similarly, the flax seed offers an additional and slightly different fresh nutty flavor. Since both the crimini mushrooms and the flax seed are very subtle flavors, and slightly different, they combine quite nicely without overpowering the Apple, which is itself a subtle flavor.
And finally, we have the Ham and the Apple. The Ham I chose was a “cooked ham,” a cold-cut off the shelf of any grocery store. I am always careful to select cold cuts which have no added ingredients, and where possible, I try to further select on the basis of what the animal was fed. Though, that’s not always possible, or reasonable. In this case, no salt was added, nor preservatives, only water after cutting and packaging. That is, if you believe the package… And the Apple: I chose a McIntosh for the salad for today. I like McIntosh a lot because it’s the perfect combination of sweet and tart – and that flavor comes out really well in foods. It’s a great choice for pies, cakes, etc. and for a more simple dish like a salad.
And there you have it. The salad came out great, and the Apple flavor stood out just like I planned!