The coming of October feels like reuniting with a lover you haven’t seen in ages. The sun is golden without being too harsh, the monsoon puddles have dried out, and in my kitchen, I’m experiencing the first taste of fall vegetables. The temperatures outside might still be soaring, but I’m busy getting in the mood for tarts, baked casseroles, and some much-needed seafood.
When I have some time to spare from waxing lyrical about the natural sweetness of roasted beets and a good flavourful fish stock, I’ll probably want to rustle up a salad. This kumquat, greens and apple number is the kind of punchy salad that justifies the little bit of work that goes into it. The dressing is sweet from applesauce, that wonderful ingredient that helps you cut back on the fat content in baking recipes. When whisked together with cider vinegar and alliums and left to rest, it takes on this gorgeous savoury-sweet flavour that contrasts so well with the bitter greens. Add to this the tiny pockets of citrusy flavour from the kumquats and you’ll find yourself itching to make this over and over again.
As always, I insist that you always have a bottle of applesauce in your refrigerator and add it to your morning cereal, replace sweeteners with this fruit puree, pair it with pork or just spread it on good crusty bread and eat, like I do when I’m hankering for something sweet after dark.
KUMQUATS, GREENS AND APPLESAUCE SALAD
Baby spinach or Tender spinach 1 pack or a good bunch, refreshed in ice cold water
Endive/ Frisee leaves 1/2 bunch, refreshed in ice cold water
Kumquats 200g, thinly sliced
Cider vinegar 1 tbsp
Applesauce 3 tbsp
Cider vinegar 1 tbsp
Garlic 2 cloves, minced
Onions 2 tbsp, finely chopped
Salt and Pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil 2-3 tablespoons
APPLESAUCE (makes a small jar)
Apples 2, peeled and cubed
Brown sugar 1 1/2 tbsp
Cinnamon stick 1
Start by massaging together the refreshed greens with the sliced kumquats and keep it covered in the refrigerator to rest.
Next, start on the applesauce. In a small saucepan, combine the apples, brown sugar, cloves and cinnamon and cook for 20 minutes over low heat. When the apples are soft enough, remove from the heat, remove the cloves and the cinnamon and mash the apples using a fork till smooth. Leave it to cool.
Mix together the applesauce, cider vinegar, minced garlic, chopped onions, some salt and pepper. Now drizzle in the oil little by little till it has blended well with the rest of the ingredients. Pour this over the salad leaves, toss well using just the tips of your fingers, season once again, if necessary, and serve.