The Fuji apple salad from the Momofuku cookbook is quite simple, but I will admit that I did not make my own napa cabbage kimchi, as I suspect most home chefs won’t. If I used it every day I would try making it (and I still may), but I imagine most people will not want to make the space (and funk) commitment in their refrigerators.
Whether you make your own or buy kimchi, the Fuji apple salad is no more than cubed or sliced apples tossed briefly in kimchi, plated with crispy bacon, greens, and a maple-labne (thickened yogurt) sauce. Perhaps I did not let my apples sit in the kimchi long enough, or maybe Washington apples are better than the New York ones David Chang uses, but the kimchi just wasn’t strong enough. Incidentally, Chang wrote this regarding regional apples:
I’ve always said that New York has the best apples…but Fuller did a version of our Fuji Apple Kimchi salad and I have to say that their version was so much better than ours I couldn’t believe it. The fucking apples were the best damn Fuji apples I’ve ever had—crisp, juicy, tart. I forgot that Washington State also grows apples, the fuckers.
Chang calls for cured and smoked jowl for this salad, whereas I used regular bacon, but the idea was similar. Overall the flavors were interesting together, but I did wish for a little more kimchi funk. Next time I’ll let the apples sit in the kimchi puree longer. The maple-labne sauce kept everything grounded with its slight earthy sweetness, and I’ll make it again just to eat on its own.
I’ll be back after the holiday with more from Momofuku!