I have an addiction.
Well, WAY more than one, but this one is relative to this post.
It is the Fuji Apple Chicken Salad from Panera Bread. When I get hungry, I CRAVE it. Crunchy dried apples, succulent lemon-herb chicken and that dressing - DEAR GOD, THE DRESSING! - tangy, apple vinaigrette drizzled over crispy salad greens and sweet purple onions, topped off with creamy crumbles of feta cheese and crunchy pecan halves.
Well, since Panera isn't next door to my house and that dreamy salad will cost me seven dollars a pop, I decided to turn to my friend who knows everything.
I found several recipes for Apple Vinaigrette, but this one seemed to be the closest. I bought all the ingredients and yesterday tried my hand at it.
This dressing was so good, it was as though I had died and went to Panera.
And now I'm sharing it with you.
These are the ingredients for the recipe I found online:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons grated sweet or purple onion
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup finely chopped apple
Puree together in a food processor or blender and Voile!
The first time I made it, I substituted dried apples because I forgot the fresh. I also added about a teaspoon of lemon juice and about 1/2 cup of water. It was divine.
The second time I made it, I used the rest of the dried apples I had and filled in with fresh to make it about 1 1/2 cups. I also cut the sugar to 1/4 cup and omitted the lemon juice (only because I was out of it) and it was probably even better. The texture was smoother and it tasted more like a fresh apple. I'm guessing it would be even that much better made entirely with fresh apples. (For the record, I used Gala instead of Fuji.)
For me, it is key to have feta cheese in the salad. It is pricey, but so, so worth it. You can leave out the chicken and pecans and it is still crazy good.
Now, go forth and make dressing. Let me know what you think.