Monday, November 30, 2009

Fundamentally Frugal Fruit Salad - The Waldorf Salad

I love Waldorf Salad, but the whole thing seems to have gotten to out of control as time has passed from it's birth in 1895 at the Waldorf Hotel of New York. Oscar Tschirky being the proud father of the dish. The last time I ordered, what was suppose to be "Waldorf salad", in a restaurant, it not only had the grapes in it, but raisins, dried cranberries, raspberries, mandarin orange segments and, what I THINK were, Nasturtiums or maybe Marigolds...

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 Salad

2 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!



DDpie said...

Amen Brotha, preach on! (ok, well, maybe throw some raisins or grapes in there....but that's IT.) LOL

Michele said...

I've only had a salad like this a couple of times in my life but always liked it. I never thought of making it myself but maybe I should, it looks great!

Patti T. said...

I just made a big bowl of this yesterday, my son found it and ate the whole thing!! Okay, like DD, I like raisins in mine and I used toasted pecans. The funny thing yesterday, as my son was taking the last bite he said, that wasn't celery I just ate, was it? He claims to HATE celery. Darn, seeing your pictures I am really hungry for it now and I have no more celery, it just wouldn't be the same without it.

Bob said...

Looks great! My girlfriend has been after me to make Waldorf salad, but I'm pretty sure she wants the grapes in there.

Dajana said...

It's gorgeous. Homemade mayo rocks, makes everything better.

Katy ~ said...

I'm in all four of your corners on the Waldorf salad issue. But for the life of me I cannot make homemade mayo. It's disgraceful.

Jhonny walker said...

I love your is sad I missed out on you for such a long time :)

Danielle said...

I don't think I've ever had Waldorf salad and I'm beginning to wonder why! It looks really good and I love the simple flavors.

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