Holy Heliotrope! Something so elegant in it's simplicity turned into a "Monet". Have you noticed that from a distance his paintings looks great, then when you get up close, you realize it's just a big mess? Not that I am knocking Claude Monet, I love Monet as a matter of fact. I would be ecstatic if "Le Jardin de Vétheuil" or "Antibes vue de la Salis" were hanging on my wall, but not on my plate... Cause I have to sit too close to my plate to eat. LOL
I think part of the problem is that Americans have lost the ability to make mayonnaise. We BUY mayonnaise and croûtons. (Croûtons are another post, but they are just as easy to make as Mayonnaise) It's just plain crazy I tell ya. It's SO easy to make and infinitely modifiable to enhance the flavor of whatever application it is destined for. All to often though, the bland garbage from a store shelf rears it's ugly head and good food is deprived of great flavoring potential. (sigh, it's a sad thing)
For this particular salad I like to make mayonnaise using 3/4 cup light olive oil and 1/4 cup walnut oil. I also use Champagne vinegar instead of Cider Vinegar or Lemon juice (cause the apples are already tossed with lemon juice). It was deliciously tart, while providing more backbone to the walnuts in the salad. I was extremely pleased with the flavor power of the mayonnaise... Look Ma!! No Nasturtiums!
Let's bring the Waldorf Salad back to it's humble, yet regal roots, shall we?
Waldorf Salad2 lbs of GrannySmith, Newtown, Gravenstein or Braeburn apples. (anything tart)
5 oz of Celery (diced)
3 oz Homemade Mayonnaise (Seriously, Not Miracle Whip or Hellmens/Bestfoods, it needs to be homemade)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 oz Toasted Walnuts (Roughly Chopped)
Slice and dice apples - Core the apple, slice into quarters then slice each quarter into 3, yielding 12 sections then slice these into about 1/2 inch chunks just like you would for apple pie. This will yield about 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 lbs of apples. (I used Organic Braeburns, so I did not peel the apples. If I was using a Granny Smith, with a tougher peel, I would have removed the skin)
Place chopped apples in a large bowl and toss with lemon juice to keep from browning before adding the diced celery.
Add mayonnaise, toss until coated well.
Refrigerate for about 1/2 hour, covered.
Serve on Romaine leaves and sprinkle with chopped walnuts, or (if simply serving to a large group of hungry children) toss walnuts with the salad right before serving (they get soggy if you do it early)
Elegant in it's simplicity, refined in flavor. Delicious!