As originally created by Oscar Tschirky, maitre d’ of the Waldorf-Astoria [Hotel in New York City], the Waldorf Salad was a crunchy mixture of apples and celery tossed with mayonnaise and served on a bed of lettuce. Someone later added broken walnuts, and this is the version that we have come to accept as the classic Waldorf Salad.
Inventive cooks continue to embellish the salad with their own touches, but the basic ingredient is still crisp and juicy apples, most frequently the Red Delicious variety.
One variation is Frozen Waldorf Salad, which includes juicy fresh peaches and grapes in addition to apples, celery and nuts. Cream cheese, mayonnaise and whipped cream are blended for the dressing, 8 rich base that gives this frosty Waldorf a dual role as salad or dessert.
For an exotic variation of the Waldorf Salad, combine apples and celery with summer melons and tropical fruits like fresh pineapple and papaya. This Islander Waldorf Salad, with a flavor of the South Seas, is tossed with a luscious pineapple dressing.
1-1/2 cups diced apples
1 cup diced peaches
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup halved green grapes
cup finely chopped celery
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup chopped nuts
2 packages (3 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
Chopped nuts and apple slices, for garnish
Combine apples and peaches. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Add grapes, celery, marshmallows and nuts. Beat cream cheese and mayonnaise together until smooth. Add sugar. Fold in whipped cream. Add to apple mixture. Turn into 9×5-inch loaf pan or six-cup mold. Freeze until firm, several hours or overnight. Let stand at room temperature for a few minutes. Turn out onto serving plate. Garnish with chopped nuts and thin apple slices.
Makes eight servings
Islander Waldorf Salad (Hawaii-themed) recipe
2 apples, cored and coarsely diced
1-1/2 cups fresh pineapple chunks
1 small papaya, diced
1-1/2 cups honeydew melon cubes
1 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup salted peanuts or cashews
Pineapple dressing (recipe below)
Combine fruit with celery and nuts. Add pineapple dressing and, toss until well-coated. Serve in lettuce-lined bowl.
Makes eight servings
Pineapple dressing recipe
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup pineapple juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped
Combine cornstarch, sugar and salt in saucepan. Blend in pineapple juice and lemon juice. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. Add portion of hot mixture to egg and mix well. Return to saucepan. Cook for three or four minutes. Cool. Fold in whipped cream.