…but the Waldorf-Astoria is none-too-shabby, either, eh? 😉
When I was planning out our Fat Tuesday meal, I decided I wanted a salad to have with the jambalaya, but I didn’t want a typical tossed salad. After some pondering, I thought that the sweet fruit taste and crunch of a Waldorf Salad would make a nice accompaniment.
As Wikipedia tells us:
A Waldorf salad is a salad traditionally made of fresh apples, celery and walnuts, dressed in mayonnaise, and usually served on a bed of lettuce as an appetizer or a light meal.
The salad was first created between 1893 and 1896 at the Waldorf Hotel in New York City (the precursor of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, which came into being with the merger of the Waldorf with the adjacent Astoria Hotel, opened in 1897).
Oscar Tschirky, who was the Waldorf’s maître d’hôtel and developed or inspired many of its signature dishes, is widely credited with creating the recipe. In 1896, Waldorf Salad appeared in The Cook Book by ‘Oscar of the Waldorf’; the original recipe did not contain nuts, but they had been added by the time the recipe appeared in the Rector Cook Book in 1928. The salad became popular enough that Cole Porter featured it in his 1934 song “You’re the Top.”
Waldorf Salad is a tasty way to deliver the super nutrition of apples:
Basic research suggests that apples may reduce the risk of colon cancer, prostate cancer and lung cancer. Apple peels contain ursolic acid which, in rat studies, increases skeletal muscle and brown fat, and decreases white fat, obesity, glucose intolerance, and fatty liver disease.
Apple peels are a source of various phytochemicals with unknown nutritional value and possible antioxidant activity in vitro. The predominant phenolic phytochemicals in apples are quercetin, epicatechin, and procyanidin B2.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a typical apple serving weighs 242 grams and contains 126 calories with significant dietary fiber and vitamin C content
So armed with my Big Red Betty Crocker Cookbook for inspiration, I got to chopping and slicing and made a Waldorf Salad. Me being me, I lightened it up by using light mayonnaise. I also reduced the amount of nuts by a bit and toasted them for extra flavor.
We ate our salad plain — no lettuce — but it would be good that way, too. It makes a yummy appetizer, side dish, or light meal. It’s easy to adjust the amount of servings based on the amount of apples you use. You could also add in some grapes if you liked.
So the next time you want a different kind of salad, whip up a Waldorf Salad while singing Cole Porter’s “You’re the Top.” 🙂
Waldorf Salad (Makes 6 or so appetizer or side servings)
- 2 medium to large eating apples, coarsely chopped (do NOT peel)
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup chopped nuts, toasted (suggest walnuts or pecans)
- Lemon juice (1 to 2 tablespoons)
- Splash of milk (about a tablespoon), if desired
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
- In a medium bowl, toss chopped apples with some lemon juice (a tablespoon or so). (This will help keep them from turning brown.) Stir in celery.
- Lightly toast nuts (you can do this in a non-stick skillet over medium to medium-high heat, or in the oven or toaster oven at 325F – 350F for 5 to 8 minutes). (Toasting enriches the flavor.) Allow nuts to cool; toss with apples and celery.
- Whisk together reduced-fat mayonnaise, a splash of lemon juice, and a splash of milk (if needed). Toss together with apples, nuts, and celery.
- Refrigerate leftovers.