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Grilled Apple Spinach Salad with Maple Mustard Vinaigrette

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During a recent visit to Masstown Market, I picked up some local valley apples (Braeburn and Vistabella), as well as some double gloucester poppy seed cheese from Knoydart Farms.  The Braeburn variety made its way into a coleslaw that I paired in a sandwich with chipotle maple scallops.  But having had a grilled peach salad recently at the Saint John Alehouse, I wanted to try something similar with the Vistabella apples and the abundance of spinach I get in my CSA.  Paired with the double gloucester cheese, some toasted pecans and the maple mustard vinaigrette, this turned into one of the best salads ever, if I say so myself ! 

As some of the ingredients are local or may be hard to find, you can substitute.  The recipe:

  • 5-6 cups coarsely chopped spinach (or more, depending on how much you would like!)
  • 1 apple, sliced
  • olive oil, for grilling
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 ounces toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 3 ounces shaved double gloucester cheese (I used the poppy seed variety from Knoydart Farms, which I highly recommend, if you can get it)
  • 1/4 small purple onion, thinly sliced

For the vinaigrette:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple mustard (I used Kozlik’s Amazing Maple, you could substitute any sweet mustard with a little kick)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • salt and pepper to taste

I will add that while I have picked up Kozlik’s mustard during Toronto visits in the past, this time I lucked out and found it at the Green Pig Market in Salisbury, NB, where there are also lots of other great treats.  Check it out!

Chop spinach and place on serving platter. Top with sliced onion.  Toast pecans in a frying pan until slightly browned, then coarsely chop and add to salad.  Coat apple slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Place in a grill pan over medium heat and cook for 1-2 minutes per side, until grill marks appear and apples are slightly softened.  Remove from heat, arrange on top of salad along with shaved cheese.

To make the vinaigrette, simply mix all ingredients together and season to taste with the salt and pepper.  Drizzle over assembled salad.

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