Fall starts this week, the season for apples which are served in all kinds of dishes, from snacks and treats to dinners and desserts. Being a fruit, apples are good for us, but sometimes we need our fruit fixed with other ingredients to maximum flavor and texture.
Outside of apple pie, you might think there is not much a cook can do with apples but a search of menus around Fallbrook and Bonsall turned up some delicious alternatives to eating raw apples and other fruit.
I didn’t used to think of apples as salad material, but surprisingly found them to be quite tasty when combined with greens and other toppings. Two local restaurants pair apples with chicken for different tastes in salads. The Garden Center Café serves Vicki’s BBQ Chicken Salad which includes spicy peanuts, corn, cilantro, red onion, bleu cheese, ranch dressing and tortilla strips, besides BBQ chicken and apples.
Brothers Bistro, on the other hand, prepares their Grilled Chicken Salad with Apples & Candied Walnuts with seasoned and grilled chicken breast strips, fresh delicious apples, candied walnuts, bleu cheese and house made Green Goddess dressing.
Trupiano’s offers yet a different take with green apples added to its Insalata Di Giardino which consists of spring mix and spinach, along with candied walnuts, fresh strawberries and celery with bleu cheese crumbles and a house-made raspberry/bleu cheese vinaigrette dressing.
Beyond salads, apples can be found in at least two warm dishes, starting with Aquaterra’s Pork Porterhouse dish which includes bourbon-brown sugar apples, yukon mash, steamed broccolini, and a maple-dijon glaze. Over at Le Bistro, their Pork Normandy features a seared tenderloin and braised apple in a brandy cream sauce.
Le Bistro also uses the fruit in one of their desserts, a tart containing caramelized apple on puff pastry and caramel, as does El Jardin with an apple empanada, a Mexican style turnover served with whipped cream.
If apple dishes don’t appeal to you, you can still get your fruit in other non-traditional ways. Several restaurants offer flavorful seasonal berry salads. Another popular fruit is pineapple. Beyond eating it on pizzas, (my personal favorite), pineapple can be found in several local dishes starting with Garden Center Café’s Tropical Shrimp Salad which also includes mango and red peppers, mixed greens and a sweet citrus dressing.
Garden Center also makes a pineapple salsa which is offered with their fresh fish selections. Peking Wok, in Bonsall, prepares three dishes with this fruit. Pineapple Fried Rice includes shrimp; Spicy Honey Chicken is a crispy chicken with pineapple in a sticky honey sauce with dry chili peppers, and Sweet & Sour Pork is crispy pork with pineapple, bell pepper and onions in their original sauce.
I found one more fruit on Fresco Grill’s menu, the pear. Their Insalata di Noci combines organic mixed greens, walnuts, poached pears and gorgonzola cheese with raspberry vinaigrette.
So, there are many choices when it comes to getting in servings of fruit when you eat at local restaurants, and having a delicious meal at the same time.