|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 SaladLike 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.
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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Ambrosia Fruit Salad
Old Fashioned 5 Cup Salad