Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Waldorf Salad With a Twist

One of my childhood favorite salads is Waldorf Salad.  You know, apples, celery, walnuts and mayonnaise.  Simple.  Easy.  Delicious.  Sweet.  Fresh.  Crisp.  Mom didn't make it often, but I was so happy when she did.  It's such a nice change from lettuce salads, or jello salad, or broccoli salad or cole slaw (what we always referred to as the Indiana state vegetable).  It's super good in the fall when beautiful, crisp, fresh apples start coming in - Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Gala, Honey Crisp, Jonathan - just to name a few varieties.

Here is a little history on Waldorf Salad.

The salad was first created between 1893 and 1896 at the Waldorf Hotel in New York City (the precursor of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, which came into being with the merger of the Waldorf with the adjacent Astoria Hotel, opened in 1897).[1]
Oscar Tschirky, who was the Waldorf's maître d'hôtel and developed or inspired many of its signature dishes, is widely credited with creating the recipe. In 1896, Waldorf Salad appeared in The Cook Book by 'Oscar of the Waldorf'; the original recipe did not contain nuts, but they had been added by the time the recipe appeared in the Rector Cook Book in 1928. The salad became popular enough that Cole Porter featured it in his 1934 song "You're the Top".  Wikipedia
As you can see, Waldorf Salad has been around for a long, long time.  Thank you Oscar Tschirky for a recipe I have loved since childhood.

I add a few extras to my Waldorf Salad to make it even crisper and crunchier.  I add grapes and raw broccoli.  YUMMMM.  It is so good, I could eat an entire bowl at one sitting.  Here is what you need.

3 large crisp apples (Dan and I are Golden Delicious fans)
3 ribs celery, diced
1 cup walnut pieces
as many grapes as you like (I used several hands full, cut in half - we have little ones eating and don't want them getting choked on whole grapes)
1 cup broccoli florettes
a pinch of salt
3 Tbsp Mayonnaise (I like the kind with olive oil)

After washing and drying the apples, put the apple bottom on a cutting board and cut the apple away from the core on 4 sides.  Lay the apple pieces flat side down, cut long ways about 1/2 inch apart and then crossways to form bite sized pieces.

Wash the celery ribs.  Cut each rib in half longways, then cut crossways into 1/4 inch pieces.

Add the apple pieces and celery pieces to a salad bowl.  Add the walnut pieces.

Wash grapes and cut in half long ways.  Use as many as you like.  Add to the bowl.

Separate the broccoli florettes into small pieces and add to bowl.

Add a pinch of salt and mix.  Add 3 Tbsp. mayo to the bowl and mix, making sure all pieces are coated.  If you like more mayonnaise, feel free to add as much as you want.

Traditionally, Waldorf Salad is served on a bed of salad greens, but is not necessary.  That is your choice.

I made a huge pan of Waldorf Salad at the CoOp last week using a 1/2 bushel of apples plus all the other ingredients.  All of our clients LOVED it.  It makes an excellent side dish for fall recipes because it's a nice contrast to the heavier food items we start to serve after summer grilling and lighter fare.  There is nothing like the sweet/tart/crunchiness of fresh Waldorf Salad.  You can keep it for several days if it is covered tightly.

If you've never tried Waldorf Salad, now is your chance.  It is super delicious and kids love it.  You might even convince them to eat some broccoli.  If no one in your house likes broccoli, simply leave it out and add all the other yummy ingredients.  Since Dan doesn't like mayonnaise, I take his out of the bowl before adding the mayonnaise.  He loves it with just a little salt.  Now, you have options.

Maybe it's time to go apple picking if you have an orchard near where you live.  Me, I like to get my apples in a basket at the Farmer's Market.  It's just easier that way.

Everyday Donna

Things to Remember:

Mr. Hamilton: Would you make me a Waldorf Salad? 
Basil Fawlty: [having never heard of it] I beg your pardon? 
Mr. Hamilton: Get me a Waldorf Salad. 
Basil Fawlty: Well, I think we just ran out of Waldorfs! 
Fawlty Towers, Movie, 1975

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