The Waldorf Astoria is a grand dame of a hotel located along the mega-wealthy Park Avenue, a towering edifice that oozes stately elegance and poise in its sturdy stone-cladded outfit and art deco motifs. It is a magical place not only because of its status, but also for its entertainment, a venue for close-up magic with performances dating back to 1902. One other magical thing that came out of this hotel, as its name implies, is the Waldorf salad.
Reflective of the great metropolis of New York and the elegance of Waldorf Astoria, the Waldorf salad is energetic, daring, fruity and international. Oscar Tschirky, the maitre d’hotel during the hotel’s opening in 1896, is credited with its invention. I believe he revolutionized salads by adding in fruits; what a sweet idea! In his very unpretentiously name cook book The Cook Book, this was what he wrote in his recipe:
Waldorf Salad. Peel two raw apples and cut them into small pieces, say about half an inch square, also cut some celery the same way, and mix it with the apple. Be very careful not to let any seeds of the apples be mixed with it. The salad must be dressed with a good mayonnaise.
Interestingly, did you notice that there is no mention of walnuts? These weren’t added until some 10 years later. Sometimes perfection does take a while. Today’s modern versions include variations with grapes, lettuce, avocado, potatoes, lime juice and/or spices. In my raw version I upped it with shredded carrots for a more colorful look and replaced the mayonnaise with a herby superfood avocado nayonnaise, combining ripe avocadoes, spirulina and home-grown basil. This salad hits the spot if you’re craving for a sweet and fruity salad.
- 1 cup celery (3-4 stalks), chopped
- 1 cup apple, chopped
- 1 cup grapes, halved
- 1 cup carrot, grated
- ½ cup walnuts (or pecans), optional
- Large handful of lettuce leaves
- 1 ripe avocado
- ¼ teaspoon spirulina powder
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Handful of basil leaves
- Chop ingredients for salad.
- In a food processor, blend ingredients for dressing then coat salad.