October, 2015 update – This recipe began as an alternative to cranberry sauce with leftover Thanksgiving turkey, as you’ll see from the opening of the original post. But in the intervening two years, I’ve come to love it with with other main dishes, especially simply poached chicken breasts and vegetarian main courses that need a sweet-yet-tart side dish.
I love traditional Thanksgiving turkey. Honestly though, I may like turkey leftovers even more. Whether “straight up” or in a sandwich, there is nothing like that second (or third) day helping to send me into post-holiday, leftover ecstasy.
Cranberry sauce is a great accompaniment to turkey, on the holiday and every day thereafter until there is nothing left but a carcass with which to make soup. But sometimes, I yearn for an extra flavor boost for my turkey that is a bit more subtle. Cranberry sauce (in its many variations) is like the small child who demands attention. On the other hand, Apple and Shallot Delight is like a slightly older child, still fresh and lovely, but quieter and less attention-grabbing.
Shallots are a wonderful alternative to the more common, yellow onion. A member of the onion family, produce expert Elizabeth Schneider describes them (in her book Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini” as having a sweeter, more intense and more complex flavor than ordinary onions. Lightly fried and paired with a tart apple, they complement the mild taste of turkey without overwhelming it.
This dish brings opposite tastes and textures together. Sweet and savory, crispy and soft, sharp and mild, it takes only minutes to prepare and uses just a few ingredients. You can easily double or triple this recipe; if you’re doing a larger batch and want the apples to brown, sauté (or lightly fry) one layer of apple slices at a time to avoid overcrowding the pan.
The steps that take the apple and the shallot from raw to done are simple:
And when you’re done, if you arrange the apple slices in a lovely fan shape, you’ll find that the dish will please the eye as well as the palate! After all, presentation does matter.