Eating in season is the easiest way to cook delicious food. Why? Because foods in season are at their most flavorful best, which helps insure that whatever you cook with them will be, too.
But another advantage of eating in season is it keeps eating exciting. Why? Because when you thoroughly relish and indulge in whatever is in season, by the time the season is over, you’ve had enough of it, and you’re ready to relish in the next thing.
Another way to say that is, as much as I love nectarines, it’s fall and I’m excited about apples!
Yep, I’m excited about the everyday apple, a fruit that’s so common and familiar it borders on boring. But that same familiarity makes apples cozy and comforting. And, while they maybe run-of-the-mill other times of year—maybe—they’re not right now.
Right now, familiar varieties like Red Delicous and Fuji are at their peak. Even better, unfamiliar and heirloom varieties—wildly tasty, flavorful, perfumy sweet, and crunchy-crisp types that are only available right now—are showing up at farmers markets and even supermarket produce departments.
I decided to make an Apple-licious Crostada, a casual, almost free-form tart without a lot of bells and whistles, intended to do no more—and no less—than celebrate straight-ahead pure, sweet apple flavor. So I headed to the farmers market and asked the man at the apple stand what he’d recommend.
He pointed to a pile and offered me a taste. I can’t remember the name of the variety, but the name isn’t the point. It had full, clean apple flavor and a perfect balance of sweet and crisp. But he had other types, too, and I couldn’t resist trying a few of them as well. In the end, he was right—I bought two pounds of the variety he recommended.
A farmer always knows his product.
Let me tell you why it doesn’t matter which kind I bought. Because it was what I liked in the moment, but two weeks later, he might’ve had something I liked better. In your area and to your tastebuds, the best apple might be something totally different.
In other words, if you’re worried about finding a particular type, you may be missing out on tons of others that, at that particular time and place, might be tons better.
I flavored the apples with just a touch of cinnamon. And I used a crust recipe from a piece I did for Bon Appetit magazine, one that the food editor—a woman who’d surely tasted zillions of crusts in her life—said was one of the best she’d ever had.
My crostada was the exact comforting, satisfying, seasonal celebration I was looking for. It was particularly good with a little ice cream, and it didn’t last long.
Invite you to make an Apple-licious Crostada, too. No matter how much you like nectarines—or strawberries or apricots—you won’t be sorry.
Me, I might make another, but there’s plenty of apple season left and lots of apple recipes to be enjoyed.
More apple-liciousness from this site:
Cranberry and Apple Sauce—great for Thanksgiving
Sauteed Chicken with Parsnip, Apple, and Sherry Pan Sauce
Apple-Cucumber-Lime Agua Fresca
A few of my apple recipes from around the web:
Apple, Honey, and Goat Cheese Tartlets, for Bon Appetit magazine
Apple Crepes with Calvados Butter Sauce, for Bon Appetit magazine
Prosciutto, Apple, and Brie Monte Cristos, for Fine Cooking magazine
Butternut Squash Soup with Apple and Bacon, for Fine Cooking magazine
Apple and Blue Cheese Dressing, for Clean Eating magazine, and also great for Thanksgiving
Five-Spice Pork and Apple Salad, for the National Pork Board