For the roasted apples
- 3 firm-fleshed apples (Gala, Braeburn, Fuji, Honeycrisp) – unpeeled, quartered, cored and each quarter cut in half.
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice.
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter – melted.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil.
- 1 tablespoon brandy(optional)or apple cider.
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds – coarsely crushed.
For the vinaigrette
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar.
- 3 tablespoons roasted hazelnut or walnut oil.
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fennel greens or dill.
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt.
- Freshly ground white pepper to taste (small amount.)
For the salad
- 5 oz baby arugula, mesclun, or spinach – rinsed and spun dry.
- 24 large seedless grapes – halved lengthwise.
- 8 oz blue cheese or feta – cut into chunks.
- 1/4 cup toasted walnuts.
- Freshly ground white pepper to taste.
- 1 medium non-stick baking pan.
- Preheat oven to 475ºF.
- Place the apple slices in a medium bowl. Drizzle with the lemon juice, melted butter, oil, brandy and fennel seeds and toss with your fingers until the apple slices are well coated. Lay the slices in a non-stick baking pan and drizzle with the juices left in the bowl. Bake, uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, flip the slices and return to oven. Bake for an additional 8 to 10 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven, transfer to a tray and cool to room temperature.
- To make the vinaigrette – Place all ingredients in small bowl and whisk until well blended. Set aside.
- Place the baby greens in a large bowl and toss with half the dressing. Place a small mound of the baby greens in the center of four individual plates or salad bowls. Garnish each salad with 6 apple slices, a few grapes and the cheese cubes. Drizzle with the balance of the dressing. Sprinkle with the walnuts and finish with white pepper (optional). Serve immediately.