This recipe takes a favorite summer salad and twists it into something more suitable to the season.
3 large apples, cored and sliced (do not peel)
3 medium yams or sweet potatoes
3 stalks of celery, coarsely chopped
1 cup of raisins
1/2 cup of walnuts
2 tablespoons of cilantro, minced
3 tablespoons of olive oil
4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
1/2 a lemon
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of salt
pepper, to taste
Scrub the yams well and slice into one inch cubes or smaller. Bring a pot of water to boil, add the yams and cook over medium heat until they are soft enough to prick with a fork, but still have some bite. Drain in a colander, reserving about a cup of the hot water, and return to the pot with the celery.
Place the walnuts and raisins into a bowl and pour just enough hot water over them to cover. Soak for about 2 minutes. Drain the water and run a knife through the walnuts to make them bite-size (if necessary).
In a separate bowl, combine the olive oil, juice from half a lemon, vinegar, salt, pepper and cumin. Wisk together with a fork, pour over the celery and potatoes, and mix well. Add the nuts, raisins and apples, and cook over medium heat until everything is warm.
Serve warm or chilled.
The recipe from which I adapted this used bacon, and relied on bacon grease instead of oil for the dressing. If you'd like to try using bacon, dice about four slices, fry until crisp, and then use the diced bacon and grease to make the dressing, omitting the olive oil.
For a healthier version that still includes meat, fry slices of turkey bacon, drain on paper towels, crumble, and add to the olive oil dressing above. Another option is to use cooked, diced chicken or turkey. Heat the chicken before adding it to the potato mixture if you want to serve the salad warm.
Ginger powder would also make a fabulous addition to this salad, as would the other autumn spices – cinnamon and nutmeg. Use 1/4 teaspoon of each. Fresh ginger would taste even better. Grate between a teaspoon and a tablespoon (depending on how much kick you'd like) and add to the dressing.
Feel free to work with different flavors of the season as you put the salad together. Consider swapping out a tablespoon of vinegar for apple cider, changing the cilantro to parsley, or drizzling each serving with a little bit of local honey.