“An apple a day…” You know the rest of that phrase in the traditional sense. I know you do. But here at Sippity Sup that phrase means I’ve slipped into one of my moods and I plan to post quite a few apple recipes over the next week (or maybe even two). I live in Los Angeles (where autumn is summer). So I’m probably jumping the gun seasonally speaking. But I can’t help myself. There’s something in the (hot) air everywhere I turn. It may still feel like summer, but I know better. The seasons are changing.
Even in Los Angeles you can sense the subtle shift – as summer turns to autumn. The days seem bluer and the nights last a little longer. Hollywood Blvd crackles under the bright blue light. The Hollywood Farmers Market starts to feature Apples, Sweet Potatoes and Cauliflower. I’ve been missing them and I’m ready to welcome them back to my kitchen. So I’m going to ignore the thermometer and pay attention to the calendar. The calendar says October. That’s autumn in this hemisphere and autumn recipes I shall provide. Starting with Pumpkin Spice Latte with Nutmeg Sprinkles (which contains no actual pumpkin)!
No. I’m just kidding. Starting with apples.
Apples have become part of the culinary culture of these United States (Canada too I bet).
There are historical reasons why the apple is so popular, especially in the northeastern parts of this country. Pilgrims (yes of Thanksgiving fame) brought both seeds and cuttings to America. And though there is some discussion about the authenticity of a chap named Johnny Appleseed there is no denying that the tree has indeed found its way from “sea to shining sea”.
In the early days of this country sweet things were expensive, difficult to store and were just not the same sort of staple that they are today. In fact they were a luxury. Thanks to the Pilgrims, apples were an exception to this rule. They were local, prodigious, and kept well in cellars. Meaning sweets would be available all throughout the winter.
However, apples certainly do not belong to the good people of New England. Apples fed the pharaohs. In ancient Greece tossing an apple at a young woman could get a young man married – should she decide (and be athletically inclined enough) to catch it! And of course in 1665 apples were responsible for introducing the theory of gravity into the mind of Sir Isaac Newton.
Concha y Toro “Amelia” Chardonnay 2011
Pairs well with grilled, seared or roasted shellfish, roast chicken, wild mushrooms, sea bass with fennel purée, corn soufflé with bacon.
Savory Apple Recipes
So you see apples ain’t so new. But they’ve certainly caught on. There are about 2,500 known varieties of apples grown in the United States. That’s because there’s an apple variety suited to every micro-climate we have here. There are commercially viable apples as well as heirloom varieties. In other words, there’s an apple for everyone and anyone.
One reason for their success is the fact that they stand well in savory preparations as well as sweet. This makes them a standard in many cooked applications, especially in the autumn, when they are plentiful. I find them to be a terrific seasonal accompaniment to everything from roast chicken to cornbread.
I’m not saying that you won’t see a pie or a tart on these pages featuring apples in the coming days, but there are plenty of ways to showcase crisp, sweet-tart apples without having dessert on the menu.
So with that in mind I’m going to start this series of apple recipes with a savory apple recipe. Honey-Glazed Chicken Breasts with Apple-Potato Purée and Sautéed Apple Slices. I’ve even got a wine pairing to share with this apple recipe because you can’t toast the change is seasons with an empty glass. GREG