My folks moved to Naples, Florida, an income tax-free state, almost a decade ago. They’ve always loved the water no matter where they've lived. I was basically raised on boats, in and out of galleys, heads, staterooms, pretending to learn port from starboard, bow from aft. We’re talking Tennessee River floating, slalom skiing, wave-running next to a nuclear facility. Not quite the California way of things. Not quite the peaceful, warm Gulf coast of Florida either.
It wasn’t a huge surprise when my parents made the move to the West coast of Florida to build their dream home on the water. It was time. They had braved the South long enough; it was time to enjoy all they had worked for. Unfortunately that great idea, building a dream home, took two years to complete and drained most of their stored enthusiasm for the Gulf Coast.
Years later, after completion and a resolving repose with staying put, my folks wear their Naples pride playfully. Naples more recently boasts dozens of amazing restaurants and watering holes, but is still anchored in the quiet, temperate Gulf. For the last few years we’ve visited for Thanksgiving, which is usually right around my birthday. And there is only one place I like to spend my birthday in Naples: Cafe Bar Lurcat.
There are three reasons why: 1. Great wine list 2. Fried rice topped with soft boiled egg 3. Apple, chive, manchego salad. So this week, I’m insisting Cafe Bar Lurcat comes to me. In Cali.
This is one of the easiest things you will ever make. And one of the most delicious. The apples and cheese so closely resemble each other, it’s hard to pick them apart. The only things which divide them are taste and the touch of green at the end of the apple stalk. The apples have that bitter, sweet lemon kick and the cheese is so salty and nutty it could kill anyone with a nut allergy. With the tiny crunch of chive and little kick from the pepper, your taste-buds will be pleased. I like to cut the apples last, since they brown so quickly. If you must cut them earlier, squeeze lemon over them, cover and refrigerate.
If you can believe it this salad can stay in the fridge for about a day or two, with the right amount of lemon to preserve. If you wanna follow this dish with the Pancetta Leek Fried Rice, you’ll have the closest meal to Lurcat since Lurcat. I mean really when are you ever going to Naples, Florida? Sorry Mom and Dad.
Apple, Manchego & Chive Salad
- 2 Granny Smith Apples, cored and cut into matchsticks
- 6 oz manchego cheese, cut into matchsticks
- 2 tbsp chopped chives
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Juice on one lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
Using a mandolin, slice apples and cheese into the same width slices. Then cut each slice into matchsticks. Unless you have a mandolin with a julienne blade, then use that of course.
Combine all ingredients into a bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Store covered in refrigerator for one to two days max.