Apple, Manchego Cheese, and Chive Salad has been the darling of my fall recipe repertoire. Sweet-tart apples, buttery cheese, and mild chives in a grassy-lemony dressing. It’s somehow both simple and complex, and at the same time effortless and impressive. Lovely paired with your mom’s creamy white chicken chili or all on its own!
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Apple, Manchego Cheese, & Chive Salad
Every once in a while, a dish just steals your heart. And this is one of those recipes for me. I first had it at a local restaurant in my area, Love Child. On paper, Apple, Manchego Cheese, and Chive Salad sounded good, sure, but it’s not one that immediately stood out for me. The first time I experienced it though? Most certainly memorable. One where you and your friends all keep saying, “This is good. This is really good.”
It’s simple. Three main ingredients. Five with the dressing. But in it’s simplicity, it’s simultaneously complex. A classic pairing of apples and cheese presented in a unique way, which I think is the key. The apples and cheese are both cut into matchsticks, which makes them hard to distinguish from one another. The chives add both complementary color and a barely-there pungency. Even with so few ingredients, you’re somehow not quite sure what’s on your fork, but it’s magical. What is this kitchen witchcraft? Delicious simplicity of sweet, savory, herbal harmony. That’s what. And boy has she cast her spell on me.
Effortlessly Impressive Salad Presentation
The best part? It’s impressive appearance, despite coming together quickly and effortlessly. A mandoline makes this a cinch. If you don’t own one yet, I don’t think you’ll regret the purchase. They’re unparalleled when it comes to even-thin slicing and julienne dicing. However, if you have Jacques Pépin knife skills, a mandoline is not required.
Use your favorite! My favorite apple varieties are Honeycrisps and Haralsons. My mom, sisters, nieces, and I love visiting Ecker’s Apple Farm. Although visiting an orchard can be a bit cliché (my sister sent me this video that totally pokes fun at apple picking if you need a good laugh), Eckers is an absolutely blast if you’re in the Driftless Area. Live music, local beers, and the best apples.
Manchego is the traditional cheese for Apple Manchego Chive salad. Manchego comes from the La Mancha region of Spain from the milk of sheep of the Manchega breed. It’s firm texture lends itself well to matchstick slices, while the texture is rich and buttery, a perfect foil to the tart, crisp apples. However, in a pinch, sharp white cheddar also works!
Apple Manchego Chive Salad
- 4 small firm apples
- 2 tbsp lemon juice divided
- 4 ounces manchego cheese
- 1/4 cup chives
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Using a mandoline or knife, cut apples into matchsticks. Toss with 1 tablespoon lemon to prevent browning.
- Using a mandoline or knife, cut manchego into matschsticks. Toss with apples.
- Snip chives and toss with apples.
- Whisk together remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice and olive oil. Toss with salad. Serve immediately (though the apples lose some crispness, I find leftover are still delicious for a couple days).