The last thing on your mind in mid-August is fresh apples, at least that's the last thing on my mind.
When I think of apples, I think of fall, pumpkin-spiced lattes, Friday night high school football games and fallen leaves.
So you might be surprised to see several varieties of early apples available at the Kenosha Public Markets at the end of July and the first of August.
One of our vendors, Brightonwood Orchards from Burlington, is a true Southeast Wisconsin treasure.
"Brightonwoods Orchard was established in 1950 as a weekend retreat. Initially a hobby orchard, it grew from 3 acres to 18.5 acres, on 4,000 dwarf and semi-dwarf trees. Brightonwoods' emphasis is on preserving existing heirloom varieties and growing standard and newer commercial varieties."
The orchard grows over 200 heirloom varieties of apples, most of which you've probably never heard of, with names like North Star King, Arkansas Black and Kickapoo Spice. They also grow grapes, pears and quince. An onsite winery and distillery produces ciders, hard ciders, whisky, fruit and dessert wines.
I picked up a few pounds of a variety I've never tried before - New Yorker - from the market this past weekend.
I found the flavor to be complex, a balanced blend of tart and sweet. They weren't terribly juicy, and had a firm texture - great for biting into!
As I was already grilling some brats, I thought I would try simplifying my typical apple crisp recipe. This version is ridiculously simple - sprinkle the peeled apples with toppings, wrap in foil, and grill.
Grilled Apple Crisp
8 cups thinly sliced peeled New Yorker apples (I used six medium apples)
1 cup quick-cook oats
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup cold butter, cut into small cubes
2 teaspoons vanilla
Spread apple slices onto a sheet of aluminum foil. Combine oats, brown sugar, all-purpose flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Add in butter using a pastry blender. Add vanilla. Sprinkle mixture over apples.
Fold together the ends of the foil to seal the packet. Grill until apples are tender, about 20 minutes. Open foil and serve immediately.