If you have a chance, like I did this summer to visit the Waldorf Astoria, magnificent Art Deco boutique hotel, in New York City, and have a bite at one of their restaurants, you should not skip to get a taste of their famous salad!! Delicate, fresh, refined hors-d-oeuvre, incredibly easy to make, for your next holidays dinners or receptions.
This salad brings all the classical touches of a Grand Hotel menu d’epoque, yet the recipe was created in great rush by the maitre d’hotel, Oscar Tschirky, around 1896, so I learned during a tour of this historical landmark.
The story goes like this: the hotel has always been the house in New York of many illustrious guests, Presidents, Queens, and Foreigns dignitaries. One day the cuisine needed to serve a large light refined appetizer, but was missing some essential ingredients. Oscar Thschirky said to his staff ”well, just throw in some apples “ , he then added the celery, mayonnaise, on a bed of lettuce and the famous Waldorf salad was born!
The walnuts addition came later, and I can say they are a great touch, that absorb some of the apples acidity and add a flavorful crunchiness.
Today’s light version is a mix of mayonnaise and non fat yogurt, softer and delicious.
so here is my five stars version of the Waldorf Salad!
Ingredients – Serve 4 to 6
- 2 large crisp apples like Gala, diced
- 2/3 cup walnuts halves
- 2 ribs celery (with leaves), sliced into 1/2-inch-thick pieces (leaves chopped)
- 1/2 cup non-fat yogurt
- 2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
- 1 head Boston lettuce, trimmed, washed and dried
- 1 tablespoon white sugar or honey
- 1/2 lemon, zest finely grated
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- 1/2 cup red grapes or golden raisins
- 1 pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven at 350 degrees, spread the walnuts on a layered baking sheet, bake for 8 to 10 minutes, remove and let it cool.
- Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk together, mayonnaise, light yogurt, sugar, lemon. ground pepper. whisk well.
- Halve, core and slice the apples in small cubed pieces, also slice the celery thin.
- Add the mayonnaise to the apples and celery, mix well and chill.
- When ready to serve, lay your serving plate with lettuce leave, adjust carefully the apples/celery mayonnaise combination , sprinkle with the nuts add the grapes and serve chilled. A delight of freshness and classy crunchy ingredients!
- Optional – Add crusty cold chicken for a delicate, light meal.
The Original at Waldorf Astoria today
When in New York City, please visit this beautiful historical hotel, perfectly remodeled into his great Art Deco splendor! Tours every Thursday mornings.