The kimchi that I had made was coming up on three weeks old. Much to my surprise, it still smelled as fresh as when it first went into the fridge, even though it had acquired a slight fizz from CO2 buildup. I wanted to use it in one more dish before disposing of it, and I wanted that dish to be as quick and simple as the bo ssäm had been slow and complicated. Once again, Momofuku came to the rescue with this simple recipe for Fuji Apple Salad (with kimchi, smoked jowl, and maple labne).
I assembled the ingredients, making adjustments to feed only three instead of four: three Fuji apples (scaled down from four), a half cup of pureed napa cabbage kimchi, a half cup of labne (thick middle eastern yogurt), a quarter cup of maple syrup (Vermont dark grade B), a cup of loosely packed arugula, and three quarters of a pound of thick-cut bacon (scaled down from a full pound). The recipe calls for sliced smoked country jowl, but allows bacon to be substituted.
I put the sheet pan with the bacon into a 35o°F oven and let it cook until just crisped, about twenty five minutes. While it cooked, I whisked the labne and maple syrup together until the mixture was smooth.
I peeled the apples, cut them into slices about a quarter of an inch thick, then tossed them in a bowl with the kimchi puree.
By this time the bacon was ready, so I drained it on paper towels.
I tossed the arugula in about two tablespoons of olive oil and some salt and pepper. To assemble the dish, I smeared about two tablespoons of the sweetened labne on a plate and topped it with a stack of the kimchi apples. I cut the bacon slices into thirds and leaned the pieces agains the pile of apples. I placed a small handful of the arugula over the bacon, then dressed the plate with a few grinds of black pepper.
For a dish with so few components, there was a lot going on. The kimchi apples were sweet and spicy and crunchy all at once, the peppery arugula added a bitter note, and the maple labne kept the kimchi heat from becoming overwhelming, as well as providing a classic complement to the bacon (bacon & maple: a classic combination). She Who Must Be Obeyed demanded that I keep the extra labne to use as a topping for sliced apples as a snack.
I want to make this again, but I’ll have to start with a new batch of kimchi and a few more recipes in which to use it. I’m still acquiring a taste for fermented cabbage, so it may be a while before we see this dish again.