We were recently contacted by the marketing team for a new apple variety called Pazazz, the "wow right now" apple. Not being ones to say no to samples, especially for such a versatile fruit, we took them up on their offer and a box soon arrived with six apples. Similar to Honeycrisp apples in texture although less sweet, they have been created to offer "just-picked freshness heading into the winter months."
Our first use of the apples was the most simple - as part of a cheese plate put out at our New Year's Eve gathering. Their crispness complimented the creamy cheeses and sweet-but-not-too-sweet flavor found a partner with multiple beers enjoyed that night, especially Ohio's Lager Heads Brewing Co. oak aged Flanders Red.
With more apples to use, along with some avocados, we searched the interwebs for something to take to a New Year's Day gathering. The "winning" recipe was a modified version of Chef Julie Yoon's Apple and Avocado Chicken Salad that we put into won ton cups for an easy finger food appetizer.
As the recipe had told us to expect, we had more of the dressing than was needed for the salad. A tasty dressing but due to avocados being a primary component we knew it would have a short shelf life before the beautiful green color turned ugly, worse than Cinderella's coach turning into a pumpkin after midnight.
Taking a leftover baguette, we sliced it, slathered on the dressing, added a slice of apple and topped it with double cream Gouda. Into the oven to melt the cheese and what came out was a delicious combination of sweet, salty, creamy and crunchy. The apples held up admirably to the cooking and the snack got two thumbs up from our friends at our favorite watering hole.
Building on what we'd learned so far, we included apple slices along with carrot and celery as dippers for a delicata squash dip based on this hard squash hummus recipe. Reminiscent of hummus, although sweeter from the roasted squash, the apples were a nice alternative to the veggies. Chalk up another win!
As we reached the end of our apple box we went back to the delicata squash well, spreading it on the remaining lefse (a gift from our Midwest family) and topping it with minced apples and crumbled Cotija cheese. Rolled up just as one would with a tortilla spread with cream cheese, the simple appetizer went along to a pot luck and was gobbled up.
Big thanks to the apple folks for getting in touch with us and giving us a jumping off point to try out some new recipes. We'll definitely keep our eyes out for Pazazz the next time we need apples.