There is something I have learned about Minnesotans. When a Minnesotan makes it big, whether it’s Loni Anderson, Bob Dylan, or somebody getting on The Voice, we all claim them and root for them. Even if they moved away after third grade, or like Dylan, kind of disowned us, we like seeing one of us represent on the big stage.
So, when our local apple, the Honeycrisp, made it big, we all claimed it. Oh, sure I couldn’t name the guy at the University of Minnesota who bred the celebrity apple, but I don’t care. It’s our apple, dangit, and we take credit.
The Honeycrisp is just one of the great exports from the U, from medical devices to modular desks. But it’s a great one. It was actually first planted in 1962, and it just took a while for it to become the phenomenon it is now.
As nice as it is that the Honeycrisp has hit the big time, there is a good reason for me to stick a little closer to home, and seek out locally grown apples. The fruit only develops the superior crackling-crisp texture and excellent balance of sweet and tangy when it’s grown someplace with cold nights in Fall. So when the trees are planted too far South, well, it might be hard to see why we love the apple so much.
So, in honor of the big local Honeycrisps, Sweet Tangos, and other tasty apples, I made a hearty red rice salad with apples. It’s a nice interplay of sweet maple and bright lemon, with wilted kale I plucked right from the garden.
Minnesota pride aside, you just can’t lose with a tasty whole grain salad with freshly harvested apples, whatever variety you choose.
Red Rice, Kale and Apple Salad
1 cup Himalayan Red Rice or other whole grain rice
8 ounces kale, stems removed, leaves chopped
2 medium apples
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1. Cook the rice, Himalayan is 2 cups water to 1 cup rice, and takes about 45 minutes. Other varieties differ, so check the package. When the rice is cooked, stir in the kale and cover, let stand until the kale is wilted. Dump into a large bowl to cool completely.
Chop the apples. In a cup, stir the lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, maple and olive oil. Add the apples to the rice, drizzle the dressing over, and toss to mix. Chill or serve at room temperature. Keeps for a couple of days in the fridge, although the apples will get a little brown.