Sunday, November 20, 2011

Waldorf Apple Salad

Waldorf salad is a fruit salad of apples, grapes or raisins, and nuts, tossed with a mayonnaise dressing. Served alone as is, or over a bed of shredded or whole leaves of lettuce, it's a holiday favorite.

Waldorf Apple Salad

Like the Hot Brown, Waldorf Salad comes to us from the kitchen of a hotel, this one the Waldorf in New York City. It is said to have been created oddly enough, not by the chef, but by the maitre d'hotel, or kitchen manager, Oscar Tschirky for a 1893 society party. I actually have made two different varieties of this salad, trying to get one that looked good in a photograph. Just ain't happening y'all, though I tried! Some foods just refuse to be photogenic.

Not particularly southern, but still enjoyed and shared at our holiday tables nonetheless, though we tend to call it just good ole apple salad down this way. Truth be known, our favored holiday fruit salad, hands-down, is always gonna be Ambrosia, whether it be true to its pure form of simply oranges and coconut (though it rarely is anymore), or made with a variety of fruit and add-ins and more like a fruit salad like I make. In my eyes, Ambrosia trumps Waldorf in the south for the holidays, though some people traditionally serve Waldorf at Thanksgiving and save the Ambrosia for the Christmas table.

Like Ambrosia, Waldorf Salad has undergone some changes over the year. Once in its purest original form, Waldorf was made only with apples, celery and mayonnaise. The addition of nuts came some 30 years later and somewhere along the line grapes, or raisins were added. I've had it both ways and prefer it with the additions.

I also find that I prefer this apple salad with a sweeter or more sweet than tart apple - Gala is a favorite here for me. Too tart of an apple ruins it for me, so, much as I love them, there will be no Granny's in my Waldorf. I also like seedless grapes more than raisins - the grapes are much sweeter and while I love the crunch of walnuts or pecans, I don't like the texture of the raisins as much as I do the flavor of the grapes. You can certainly use either. I know. A little picky!

That Creole mustard and Slap Ya Mama in the recipe? Certainly not traditional, but y'all already know I'm a tad bit of a rebel sometimes when it comes to cooking, right? I challenge you to give it a try, but if not, simply leave it out. Using lemon juice on the apples is an option, though I don't like the lemon flavor. You really don't need it, provided you get everything else prepped and ready to go - so mise en place is also a good practice here.

Here's how to make it, though you'll probably want to double it for the holidays.

To a medium sized bowl, add the celery, grapes and walnuts; toss.

Add chopped apple.

Toss to combine well.

Add Cajun seasoning, mayonnaise, and Creole mustard. Start with a half cup of mayonnaise and add more to your liking. Some folks like it really gooey, some with just a touch. Both ways are correct!

Toss and serve immediately over romaine or iceberg lettuce leaves or a bed of shredded lettuce and garnish with additional chopped nuts if desired, or let sit covered in the fridge until ready to serve.

If you think this sounds yummy, I'd sure it if you'd click to pin it, tweet it, stumble it, or share it on Facebook to help spread the word - thanks!

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Recipe: Waldorf Apple Salad

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings
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Check These Recipes Out Too Y'all!

Ambrosia Fruit Salad
Watergate Salad
Old Fashioned 5 Cup Salad

Posted by on November 20, 2011
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  1. I make it with the walnuts and raisins and sometimes a mix of sweet and tart apples, rather than just sweet. I add a bit of salt to mine to bring out the flavors, and do squeeze some lemon on the apples to keep them from browning. My uncle by marriage always made his with whipped cream rather than the mayo. Most people don't like it or won't even try it because it isn't the most attractive salad. More for me!! I think I learned how to make this in junior high homemaking, since my mother did not make it for either holiday. I am always interested in the origin of recipes and the regional traditions.

  2. Oh this is one of my all time favorites. And I've gotta try it your way with the cajun spice and slap yo mama.
    I hope you have an amazing Thanksgiving. I count you as one of the thank yous I have here in the blogopshere. Happy Thanksgiving. Oma Linda

  3. My mom didn't make it regularly either Tracey, probably because nobody would eat it. You're right - it's kinda homely looking isn't it? I really liked the Cajun seasoning in place of salt - try that sometime!

    Oh Linda you too! I got my little pretty and took some pictures with the intention of blogging about how that made me smile on a day I really needed it, but have to upload them to the "other computer" that hides out in the room nobody uses. Something is wrong with my laptop - it suddenly doesn't like pictures! Anyway, you are also one of my thanks as is Tracey up there!

    Happy Thanksgiving ladies!

  4. While I really like Waldorf Salad we never make it and I don't know why. We'll have to give your Cajuned-up version a try.

  5. I love this salad but have to admit, ambrosia is my favorite!

  6. I grew up on this classic, but for the holidays I change out the raisins for craisins! yum yum, enjoy the day! anne

  7. Hey Larry! You know me with my Cajun seasoning. It's not so much that it's even noticeable really but gives a little punch to the apple.

    Me too Eva - I like them both but ambrosia wins hands down in my opinion.

    Absolutely, they are a perfect add in for the holidays Anne! I included dried cranberry as an add-in in the variations at the bottom.

    Happy Thanksgiving y'all!


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