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Autumn Abundance 

Five salads to fall for this season 

Fall salads? Hear us out. While salads are often touted as summer fare, there’s a lot to be said for the marriage of hearty and healthy. Enter the fall salad. Chock full of wholesome grains, robust root vegetables and full-bodied greens, these dishes prove that a satisfying salad knows no season. 

Carrot Salad

Fress Restaurant and Bar, Appleton

The menu at Fress changes seasonally, but one thing that won’t be changing anytime soon is the carrot salad. Inspired by a Chicago-style hot dog, this carrot salad will have you questioning a lot of things you thought you knew about carrots. Of course, carrots can be crunchy, aromatic and sweet, but when smoked, they take on a surprisingly meat-like quality. “We wanted to have a vegetarian salad with a strong flavor profile and an emphasis on umami,” says Chef and Co-owner James Dudley. To achieve that deep umami flavor in a vegetable, the carrots are dry rubbed and smoked which gives them a unique cured meat flavor. The salad is completed with house-made poppyseed crouton chips, pickled Serrano peppers and cucumbers, salted caraway Napa cabbage and buttermilk dressing. In Wisconsin, carrots are harvested through late fall making autumn a prime time to give this salad a try. In non-carrot related news, Fress began serving Sunday brunch in July with items like biscuits and gravy, seafood benedict florentine and beignets with brown butter ice cream – just an FYI. 

Apple Pecan Salad 

Stuc’s Pizza, Appleton

Refreshing in summer and delicious in winter, this salad is a year-round customer favorite at Stuc’s, but we especially love it in the fall. The base is a mixture of iceberg and romaine lettuce, peppered with red onion and purple cabbage. Dried cranberries, baked chicken, gorgonzola cheese and Pink Lady apples top the salad. Homemade candied pecans add a sweet crunch, but the sweetest part of this salad is the house-made raspberry vinaigrette. “We start with whole raspberries and boil the juice out of them, then mix in our secret concoction of vinegars and juices,” says owner Erik Anderson. “This dressing is so delicious we have been told we need to bottle it.” The combination of fall-fresh ingredients like cranberries and apples mixed with the summery tastes of raspberry give the salad a unique and robust flavor. Heads up: the apple pecan salad is only available at Stuc’s Appleton location.

Seasonal Vegetable Salad 

Fratellos Waterfront Restaurant, Appleton

During this spring’s restaurant shut down, the team at Fratellos weren’t idly twiddling their thumbs. Fratellos’ culinary team, lead by Executive Chef Steve Lehman, spent that time perfecting their cheesemaking skills and reimagining the entire menu with a renewed focus on the restaurant’s Italian roots. One of the newly added menu items is the seasonal vegetable salad which features the best produce every season has to offer. The salad starts with a bed of seasonal greens which could include spinach, frisee, radicchio or anything else that’s locally available. Shaved brussels sprouts and cauliflower add texture and crunch. Director of Operations Scott Roekle says customers were looking for a salad with grains and this one currently features barely. The addition of pecans creates a feeling almost reminiscent of granola, he says. Come fall, diners might see quinoa or another grain incorporated as well as different kinds of nuts. The salad is finished with honey mustard vinaigrette and rustic farmhouse cheese made in house daily. The cheese is mild, soft and crumbly, a perfect complement to the crisp vegetables. 

Arugula Salad

Carmella’s Italian Bistro, Appleton

Photo by Jackelyn Johnson

The arugula salad at Carmella’s is, in short, a revelation. Its ingredients were thoughtfully paired to offer a flavor journey not often found in a humble salad. Its base is arugula which packs a peppery punch. The spicy green, harvested May through late October, is perfectly complemented by the sweetness of roasted figs. Salty, crumbled Belgioioso gorgonzola, house-made candied walnuts and a sherry vinaigrette finish it off. You could stop there or, for a little more heft, you could add a protein like crispy calamari, salmon, chicken or grilled shrimp. Co-owner Nicole DeFranza says the combination of sweet, salty and spicy components makes this one of her favorite salads. Carmella’s is now taking reservations for any size party (a recent development) and will take requests for patio seating. Looking for your meal to go? Contactless curbside pickup is offered during regular business hours Tuesday through Saturday, 3-9 p.m.

FCM Exclusive: Layered Autumn Salad 

By Peter Kuenzi, owner/chef of Zuppas Market Cafe and Catering in Neenah

From warm pear to Thai chicken, the salads at Zuppas are some of our favorite around. This layered autumn salad is an original creation by Zuppas chef and owner Peter Kuenzi exclusively for FOX CITIES Magazine readers. Pretty enough for guests, but easy enough to throw together on a weeknight, this gem will surely be added to your regular recipe rotation. 

Ingredients

½ cup toasted walnuts

1 pound of diced butternut squash (roasted with olive oil) 

2 cups of cooked quinoa

1 bunch of kale, stems removed and cut in small ribbons

½ cup crumbled goat cheese 

½ cup chopped parsley

2 large apples, diced

½ lb. of smoked turkey, diced

1 cup Craisins, dried 

1 cup celery, diced 

1 cup red seedless grapes, halved 

1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds, no shell pepitas 

2 cups sweet potato chips (TERRA brand is recommended)

Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette 

½ cup honey

½ cup balsamic vinegar 

1 cup olive oil

In a blender, add honey and balsamic vinegar, turn on low and pour oil in slowly to emulsify.

Assembly 

In a large clear glass bowl, begin layering the ingredients starting with the smoked turkey, followed by quinoa, then craisins. Drizzle 1/3 of the honey balsamic vinaigrette over top. Next add the roasted butternut squash, kale and apples, then drizzle another 1/3 of the honey balsamic vinaigrette on top. Layer the goat cheese, parsley, celery, grapes and walnuts. Drizzle the remaining honey balsamic vinaigrette on the salad. Finish with pepitas and sweet potato chips. 

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Food & Dining

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