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.

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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

  • 3 sweet or sweet-tart apples, unpeeled, cored and chopped (about 3 cups)
  • 3/4 cup of chopped celery
  • 1-1/2 cups of halved, seedless grapes
  • 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon of Creole mustard, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama), or to taste, optional
  • Leaves of chilled whole leaf or shredded iceberg or romaine
  • Additional chopped nuts, for garnish

To a medium sized bowl, add the celery, grapes and walnuts; toss. Add chopped apple and toss. Add 1/2 cup of mayonnaise, and the mustard and Cajun seasoning; stir. Add additional mayonnaise as desired. Serve immediately over iceberg lettuce leaves or on a bed of shredded lettuce; garnish with additional chopped nuts if desired, or cover and chill until serving time.

Serving Suggestions: Serve on individual plates on top of a nice leaf lettuce, scoop into endive leaves, or scoop into mini tart shells.

Cook's Notes: You'll probably want to double this for the holidays. I used Gala apples. Toast the nuts in a skillet over medium high heat until fragrant, if desired, set aside to cool before mixing up the salad. This is also a great place to use some of those sugared walnuts or pecans.

Variations: Substitute grapes with chopped dates if desired. Can also use raisins, about 1/2 cup, plumped to soften if desired. Pour boiling water over them and let them rest about 10 minutes; drain well. Can also use sliced almonds instead of pecans and walnuts. Other add-ins are 1-2 sliced ripe bananas, sliced, 1/2 cups of dried cranberries, 1 cup of drained pineapple tidbits. Try subbing Greek yogurt with a bit of honey for the mayonnaise, or if you use a sweeter mayonnaise or salad dressing like Miracle Whip, use a more tart apple. Add 2 to 3 cups of cooked, chopped chicken to make this a main dish meal.


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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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