Maple Griddled Ashmead’s Kernel Apple, Fennel & Proscuitto Salad with Sourdough Croutons

From Ainsley’s National Trust Cook Off, ITV

Ashmead’s Kernel apples are highly aromatic and have a delicious pear like flavour which works perfectly in this salad with the earthy anise of fennel, peppery leaves and a tangy dressing. It’s a delicious dish for a starter or a light lunch and is full of flavour and texture. You can leave out the prosciutto if vegetarian and if you can’t find Ashmead’s Kernel apples try with pear.


First make the dressing. Put the oil, vinegar, shallot and maple syrup in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Season to taste.

Preheat a ridged griddle pan. Brush both sides of the bread with olive oil and place in the hot pan. Toast for about 3-4 minutes on each side until toasted and chargrill marks appear. Remove from the heat, rub the cut-side of the garlic gently over the toast, season lightly with flaky salt and set aside. Toss the apple wedges in olive oil and lightly season with salt. Chargrill the apples in the griddle pan over a medium-high heat for about 2-3 minutes on each side until lightly charred and slightly softened. Drizzle with maple syrup and turn once or twice over the heat for a minute to caramelise. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little.

Tear the toasted bread into chunks and put in a large bowl along with the fennel slices. Drizzle in some of the dressing and toss to coat. Add the rocket leaves and toss to coat.

Arrange the salad on a platter. Arrange the prosciutto, apple and blue cheese on top. Garnish with fennel fronds, drizzle with a little more dressing and season lightly with flaky salt and pepper.



  • 3 thick slices of sourdough bread or rustic loaf
  • olive oil, for brushing and drizzling
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and cut in half
  • 2-3 Ashmead’s Kernel apples or pears, cut into wedges and cored (toss in lemon juice to prevent discolouration if needed)
  • maple syrup, for drizzling
  • 1 large bulb of fennel, fronds reserved, shaved thinly on a mandolin (toss in lemon juice to prevent discolouration)
  • 20g rocket leaves
  • 6-8 slices of prosciutto or Parma ham
  • 80g blue cheese (Danish Blue, Roquefort, gorgonzola)
  • flaky sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • For the Dressing
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 small shallot, very finely chopped
  • 1 tsp maple syrup