Market recipes | Apples

These recipes won’t necessarily keep the doctor away, but who cares?

  • Photograph: Martha Williams

    Savory baked orchard apples from Green Zebra chef Shawn McClain

  • Illustration: Ian Dingman

    Shawn McClain of Green Zebra

  • Photograph: Martha Williams

    Ricotta beignets with apple butter from the Bristol's pastry chef, Amanda Rockman

  • Illustration: Ian Dingman

    Amanda Rockman of the Bristol

Photograph: Martha Williams

Savory baked orchard apples from Green Zebra chef Shawn McClain

Shawn McClain is no stranger to meatless cooking, which is the focus of his restaurant Green Zebra (1460 W Chicago Ave, 312-243-7100). Still, apples for dinner? Visionary!

Savory baked orchard apples

For the polenta
2 tbsps butter
½ cup polenta
¾ cup aged cheddar, shredded (reserve 2 tbsps for topping)

For the filling
2 tbsps shallots, minced
Olive oil
1 Granny Smith apple
½ cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
¼ cup golden raisins
Sage, minced
Scant pinch ground nutmeg

For the apples
4 large baking apples, such as Cortland or Empire
1 lemon
¼ cup coarse bread crumbs

1. Prepare the polenta: Bring three cups of water, butter and salt to a boil in a two-quart sauce pot. Add polenta in a thin stream, whisking. Cook over medium heat, whisking for two minutes. Reduce heat to low and simmer polenta, covered, stirring for one minute after every ten minutes of cooking, for about 35–40 minutes. Remove from stove top and add shredded cheddar. Season to taste and keep warm.

2. Meanwhile, make the filling: Sauté shallots in a little olive oil until soft. Peel and finely dice the Granny Smith apple and add to shallots. Add walnuts, raisins, minced sage to taste and the nutmeg. Warm throughout. Season with salt and pepper. Reserve.

3. Prepare and bake the apples: With a paring knife, carefully carve out a hollow core into each apple, and rub the inside of each with lemon juice to prevent browning. Combine three-fourths cup of the cooked polenta with the walnut/apple mixture and use it to stuff each apple. Combine the bread crumbs with the reserved cheddar and spoon onto the top of each apple. Bake 20 minutes or until the apples are soft. Serve warm.

Serves four as an appetizer or side.

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