I think the last time I uttered those words, I was 8 years old in a restaurant in late 1960's somewhere in the Los Angeles area. The Waldorf Salad is, indeed, a classic and an icon. Created around 1896 at New York's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, it became a hit for many years. As salads go in the 1960's and 1970, a Waldorf salad was as good a selection as the wedge of iceberg lettuce coated with blue cheese dressing and croutons. Those were your some of your main exotic salad choices back then.
If you have no background on the Waldorf salad, know that the "original version of this salad contained only apples, celery and mayonnaise. Chopped walnuts later became an integral part of the dish. Waldorf salad is usually served on top of a bed of lettuce." Follow the link to read more.
So how did the words "Waldorf Salad" get uttered in recent history with me? We were watching the growing pile of apples from our CSA box. Week after week brought even more apples.
Apple pie? We are not sweets people. We'd consume a slice or two and then it would sit and go bad.
Applesauce? I have jars of it from last year and the year before still sitting in the pantry.
Then I heard the magic words: "Can't you--I don't know--make a Waldorf salad or something?"
I hadn't thought about Waldorf salad for the last number of decades. So I got online and found plenty of variations on the original recipe.
But I had a couple of problems. My allergy to brown skinned nuts means no walnuts. Also, we are not big raisins fans. But Waldorf salad IS a good way to make a dent in the apple supply. So I needed to be creative. For the nuts, I found a bag of "not-so-salty" chopped cashews at Trader Joe's. Instead of raisins, I substituted dried currants from the bulk food section of Whole Foods. Everything else is true to the original recipe. But the substitutions were perfect!
Waldorf Salad Revisited
- 4 apples, cored and chopped
- juice from 1 medium lemon
- 1-2 tbsp. lemon zest
- 2-3 celery ribs, thinly sliced
- 3/4 cup nuts of choice
- 1/2 cup raisins or currants
- 2-3 cups mayonnaise (can use sour cream or yogurt)
- Juice the lemon into a large bowl
- Core and cut the apples and add them to the bowl as you go. Stir to mix periodically so that lemon juice covers the apples (you can also use ascorbic acid powder in addition to the lemon juice)
- Zest lemon peel into bowl
- Slice and add celery
- Add all other ingredients to bowl
- Stir to mix and then add mayo and nuts
Put in the fridge for an hour or so to let the flavors marry. Stir to mix prior to serving.