Nov 24, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Fried Apples

My mother-in-law makes the world's best macaroni and cheese and the best fried apples I've ever eaten, too. I haven't figured out exactly what makes her macaroni and cheese so special, so for now I'll stick with sharing what I do know:  her fried apples.

I had never encountered fried apples until I moved south. Now they are among my favorite holiday side dishes. They are very simple to make, so please don't pick up that can of something called "fried apples" at the store - set it down and pick out a half-dozen fresh, crisp apples. I promise that in a few minutes, you'll have something far tastier to serve. (Warning: you may find yourself testing them as you go, so you might need to pick up extra apples, just to have enough for everybody else. I speak from experience.)

Memaw Katie's Fried Apples

6 small to medium-sized apples (see note)
4-6 tablespoons butter (do not substitute margarine)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon orange juice

Core and slice apples. (Note: I usually use Braeburn, Jonagold or Honey Crisp - something with a fine, firm texture and light skin; not as tart as Granny Smith. If you opt for Red Delicious, peel the skins as they tend to be tough and bitter.)

Melt butter in large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add apples in a single layer and sprinkle with sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until apples are soft and sugar has completely melted and caramelized a bit (approximately 15-20 minutes.) Add a dash of orange juice at the end;  not much - just enough to give it a subtle flavor.  Stir through and serve immediately. Makes 4-6 servings.

And that's it - serve them hot or warm. (They're pretty good cold, too.) They can accompany turkey or ham as part of a traditional meal, or serve them over pancakes or hot buttered biscuits for a morning treat. Or over some good vanilla ice cream for dessert.  The possibilities are practically endless.

Happy cooking (and eating!)