Soup, salad and grilled brochettes, are just a few of the spectacular summer dishes that apples enhance. Most require little cooking, another summer plus. Here are some recipes to get you started.
The first is a soup from Jacques Pepin's new cookbook, "Cuisine Economique" (Morrow, 1992, $22). Mr. Pepin, culinary writer and teacher, is probably best known for his series of cooking lessons on public television. The new book is subtitled, "Recipes that Turn Penny-Pinching into a Delicious Experience." Mr. Pepin notes that calories can be saved by substituting low-fat or nonfat yogurt, and by using water instead of stock or broth.
1 1/2 pounds zucchini
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, peeled and cut into 1/2 -inch dice (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 apples (about 12 ounces), peeled, cored and diced (about 2 cups)
2 cups homemade chicken stock or canned broth
1 teaspoon salt (or slightly more if the chicken stock is unsalted)
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
Trim off and discard the ends of the zucchini. Wash the zucchini carefully under cold water and cut it into chunks about 2 inches long. Cut several 1/4 -inch slices from the outside of the zucchini chunks, stack these slices together and cut them into fine strips (julienne) to obtain 1 cup; set aside for a garnish. Cut the remainder of the zucchini into 1-inch dice.
Heat the oil in a pot and add the onions and crushed garlic. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, then add the curry powder, apples, the diced zucchini, the stock, 2 cups water, and the salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and boil gently for 15 minutes.
While the soup is cooking, place the reserved julienne of zucchini and 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, boil for 1 minute, and set the pan aside.
When the soup has cooked for 15 minutes, strain it through a sieve into a bowl. Process the solids in a food processor for about 1 minute, until very smooth, and add to the liquid in the bowl.
For hot soup, stir the julienned zucchini with its cooking liquid into the pureed zucchini mixture. Taste for seasoning and add salt, if needed, and the Tabasco. Ladle the soup into six individual serving bowls and garnish each with 3 to 4 tablespoons of the yogurt. Serve immediately.
For cold soup, cool the pureed zucchini mixture to lukewarm. Whisk in the yogurt until well incorporated and add the julienne of zucchini with its cooking liquid. Taste for seasoning and add salt, if needed, and the Tabasco. Refrigerate until serving time.
The next recipe was developed by FBI Foods Ltd., the Canadian importer of Granny Smith apples. It notes that the flesh of Granny Smith apples stays white longer than any other variety, so there's no need to bathe them in lemon juice to prevent discoloration.
Bird of Paradise fruit salad
5 large Granny Smith apples
orange spiced dressing (recipe below)
2 cups honeydew, cantaloupe or watermelon balls (or a combination)
Cut four apples into quarters; remove cores. With a small sharp knife, make two diagonal cuts in the center of each quarter, angling the knife to form a small wedge. Following the lines of the first wedge on the the apple quarter, cut one more wedge, larger than the wedge before; slightly spread out wedges. (Or cut the quarters into slices.)
With melon baller, cut remaining apple into small balls; toss with remaining fruit balls.
To serve, arrange apple wedges (or slices) around outside of large platter, fill center with fruit balls. Serve with orange spiced dressing.
Orange spiced dressing
Makes 2 1/2 cups.
2 cups plain yogurt
3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground mace
In a medium-sized bowl, combine all ingredients until well blended. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
The next recipe, for grilled brochettes, is from the New Zealand Apple and Pear Marketing Board, which suggests serving the dish with a rice pilaf seasoned with grated lemon zest and fresh parsley and a light white wine, such as sauvignon blanc.
Grilled chicken-apple brochettes
Makes 4 servings.
2 New Zealand Braeburn apples
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 16 pieces (see note)
1 large green bell pepper, trimmed, seeded and cut into 16 pieces
4 1 medium red onion, peeled and cut into 8 wedges
rosemary marinade (recipe below)
Core apples and cut into 16 wedges. Toss with lemon juice. Combine with remaining ingredients in a shallow glass pan, tossing to coat with marinade. Cover tightly and refrigerate 4 to 8 hours. Remove from refrigerator and divide among eight skewers. On each skewer place two wedges apple, 2 pieces chicken, 2 pieces green pepper and 1 wedge onion. Grill skewers 5-6 inches from heat for 10 minutes, turning at least once, or until chicken is cooked through.