For better or worse, here I am—trapped in paradise. As long as I continue to live in this vital, inimitable spot on the globe,

I will continue to seek out the unique…the delicious…the innovative products, services and traditions of San Luis Obispo County.

Stay posted for a few of my favorite things.

About Me...

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A wanderlust at heart... captivated by the California Central Coast. Join me on my culinary and vino-infused adventures as I explore and discover the regional novelties of San Luis Obispo County that make living here...easy to stay...and hard to leave.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Cayucos: Ruddell's Smokhouse

Inspiration comes in many forms. Over the weekend, my idea for a new apple recipe stemmed from a visit to Ruddell's Smokehouse

This tiny smoke shack, tucked neatly away on the northern end of San Luis Obispo County in the unassuming, historic beach town of Cayucos, is located just steps from the Pacific Ocean. With colossal tidal views, Ruddell's smokin' seafood and meat keeps slocals and tourists coming back time and time again.  

Their menu includes salads, sandwiches, and my personal favorite: soft tacos. Thick, warm flour tortillas, packed with savory smoked choices such as shrimp, albacore, salmon, chicken, pork loin (or just plain veggie), are layered with a creamy sauce and sweet chunks of apple, shredded carrots, and crunchy celery. The perfect big bite for a day on the beach. 

During my visit I purchased a whole smoked chicken and was lucky enough to take home a half pound of smoked shrimp—shellfish is something they don't normally shrink-wrap and sell with other specialties due to lack of quantity. 

I transported these spiced edibles home, mulling over my refrigerator full of apples recently acquired from my adventure along the Avila Valley Apple Trail. I devised the following recipe, heavily influenced by Ruddell's tacos, and selfishly thrown together to cater to my own taste buds. 

I hope the following savory-sweet dish stimulates your own palate as much as it did mine. 

Serves 2 - 4

2 cups smoked shrimp or chicken
Substitute cooked shrimp or chicken if you can't get your hands on some smokin' meats.
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped bell peppers 
Red, orange or yellow are fun colors of the rainbow
2 cups chopped apples 
Sweet or tart variety—you choose
1 head of green leaf or bib lettuce, washed, cored and leaves left whole

1 cup Greek yogurt
Juice and zest of one lime
2 tablespoons chopped shallot
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
Salt & pepper to taste


Prep your ingredients and plop the Greek yogurt, chopped shallot, and lime zest into a glass mixing bowl. 

 Drizzle with the olive oil, apple cider vinegar and honey, then sprinkle with parsley, salt & pepper.   

Give your creamy medley a big stir. Taste and adjust for seasonings.

Throw in the bell pepper and celery and stir yet again. 

Lastly, add your crisp, crunchy apples. I used Red Yorkings that I picked up at Glen Gopher Apple Farm.

Fold all ingredients together, cover, and marinate in the fridge for 2 - 4 hours. 

When you're ready to eat, spoon the apple salad on individual lettuce leaves and top with the shrimp or chicken. 
Top with a little parsley to make your presentation extra special.

I paired this dish with Claiborne & Churchill's newly-released 2013 Pinot Blanc. A beautiful choice from a local vintner. 

A big splash of Cayucos inspiration!

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