heirloom apple salad with sweet potato + blue cheese

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Years ago we used to shout Merry Christmas from the rafters without apology. Along the way, the shouts were squashed to a timid murmur, and everyone now pantomimes Happy Holidays. I don’t actually remember when the shift occurred, but it was slight, imperceivable, and although stores felt comfortable hocking Christmas wares in October, everyone still dutifully obeyed the holiday greeting.

MERRY CHRISTMAS. MERRY CHRISTMAS. MERRY CHRISTMAS. EVE.

As I type this, I’m curled up on a warm couch with my kitty, nibbling on honey rolls. Readying myself from my annual Connecticut sojourn where I plan to eat my weight in cookies, beef and all sorts of terrific, culinary delights of which my dear friend Liz has in store for me. I plan to eat like it’s 2099, and in preparation I feel it’s wise to be a tad virtuous (hmm, we may want to nix the honey rolls).

Enter this yummy heirloom apple salad. Words cannot express how much I adore this salad. You won’t feel deprived, rather, you’ll find yourself digging in, fork first. The vinaigrette provides a sharp, fresh tang against the the pungent cheese and sweet potato. In all candor, this is a lot for two people, so I’d recommend this salad as a side for four, a generous portion for 3.

Hopefully, this will divert my attention from the magic bars in the freezer!

INGREDIENTS: Recipe courtesy of Blue Apron
2 apples
1/4 cup roasted almonds
1 clove garlic
1 bunch arugula (2 cups)
1 head green leaf lettuce (4 cups)
1 small shallot
1 celery stalk
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
4 tbsp olive oil
4oz blue cheese
1 baby sweet potato
1 bunch tarragon (3 tbsp)

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DIRECTIONS
First, put a small pot of water to a boil. Peel and dice your sweet potato, then chop the celery. Next, dice the apples, then chop the tarragon. Finely chop the shallot, and set it aside in a small bowl with the apple cider vinegar. Lastly, smash and chop the garlic until it resembles a paste, then add it to the vinegar with the shallot.

Next, toast the almonds in a dry pan over high heat. They only need to toast for a few seconds — be careful not to burn them! Remove the almonds from the pan, then roughly chop them.

Add the diced sweet potatoes to the boiling water. Blanch them for 4-7 minutes, or until they can be easily pierced with a fork. Then, drain the sweet potatoes and rinse them under cold water. While the sweet potatoes are blanching, make the vinaigrette. Whisk together the apple cider vinegar, shallots and garlic with the olive oil, chopped tarragon, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Next, wash the lettuce and arugula, then shake off the excess water. Finely chop the greens together, then set them aside in a large mixing bowl. Add the apples, half of the almonds, celery, half of the blue cheese and sweet potatoes to the mixing bowl with the arugula and lettuce. Toss with enough of the vinaigrette to dress the salad. Divide the salad between two plates and garnish the remaining blue cheese and almonds. Enjoy!

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