This dish is a balance of four ingredients that Virginia produces very well. The country ham is produced by Jim Kite, a friend of my father’s. Kite cures his ham with salt and sugar, so it’s a nicely sweet shaved ham, not your traditional super salty ham, and you can pair it with something salty like peanuts without overwhelming the dish. Local Hubs peanuts are just a top-notch, extra-large, quality peanut. The Albemarle Pippin apple is crunchy, rich, and fully flavored, reaching its peak sugars in mid-winter. As for maple syrup, most people might not realize that Virginia encompasses the southern border for maple tree cultivation. Howard County produces a maple syrup that will definitely compete with anything from Vermont. In this dish, the maple vinaigrette is nice and sweet, and it counterbalances the ham and peanuts and the crunchy apples. It all works very well together.
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