Apple season has arrived at the St. Helena Farmers’ Market. Once again, I am amazed by the versatility of this wonderful fruit. Just adding a slice of apple can transform a basic sandwich from ho-hum to wow. For a great summer lunch or light supper, top your favorite mayonnaise-based chicken, ham or shrimp salad with a slice of apple and place on lightly toasted whole wheat or sourdough bread. Or add sliced apple to America’s best-loved sandwich, grilled cheese, to give it a whole new dimension. I throw on a slice of bacon, too.
Of course, apple and cheese is a natural combination. Every cheese plate benefits from the addition of sliced apple. And those who prefer to avoid gluten can use apple slices in place of crackers. I could eat a dozen slices of apple topped with pimento cheese spread. If you haven’t made pimento cheese, it’s incredibly easy. Just combine 2 cups of grated extra sharp cheddar cheese, 4 oz. pimento peppers (jarred or fresh), one-half cup mayonnaise, 8 oz. cream cheese, one-quarter teaspoon of garlic powder and one-quarter teaspoon of onion powder in a mixing bowl. I used a paddle or wooden spoon because I like to keep a fair amount of texture. This recipe says it is 12 servings, but in my house it barely serves four.
Because I like heat, I top my pimento cheese with ground cayenne and jalapeño slices. You can also use this combination of pimento cheese and apple to make a very tasty macaroni and cheese casserole.