26 August 2009

CLASSICS: Waldorf Salad

I grew up in the Southeastern part of the US, where pecan trees abound. I love pecans, and find them difficult to get here in Belgium. However, I have some wonderful friends who send them to me from time to time, and this classic salad is one of my favorite things to make from them. We eat this often at the end of the summer, when the first apples and the first pecans come to the market. Or when it’s just too hot or too muggy to cook. Or when we’re just too pooped. Like today.

This salad reminds me of my grandmother, who used to make it for us. I love its old-fashioned simplicity and its mix of crunches. It’s a little sweet from the apple and the pecans and a little bitter from the celery and the mayonnaise adds just the right touch. I don’t add too many other things to it, though others often to. Why mess with perfection?

All of the measurements are ‘-ish’--you can adjust them for what you have on hand and/or what you like. You can use yogurt instead of mayonnaise, but it’s just not the same...After all, there’s a reason it’s a classic, eh?


2 crisp apples

6-8 large stalks of celery

1/2 cup / 100 g pecan pieces

3 soup spoons of mayonnaise

  1. Wash, core and roughly chop the apples. Don’t peel them--the peel adds color to the salad!
  2. Wash and roughly chop the celery and add it to the apple pieces.
  3. If the pecan pieces are halves, crumble them with your fingers. Add them to the apples and celery.
  4. Add the mayonnaise and mix gently. Serve chilled.

Serves 4 if they like it and 10 if they don’t.

Variations -- if you feel the need mess with a classic:

  • Add 1 cup red or green grapes, cut in half.
  • Serve over freshly washed lettuce.
  • Replace the pecans with walnut pieces.
  • Add 1/2 cup raisins.
  • Chop everything fine and serve on leaves of Belgian Endive as an appetizer.


La Table De Nana said...

I love this salad..On my favorites list since I discovered it..A classic:)Like the pearl necklace.

eatlivetravelwrite said...

Nice post. And perfect for hot muggy summer days...

Grace said...

i don't believe i've ever even seen a pecan tree, or at least i didn't realize it when i saw it. i love waldorf salad, but i tend to go the yogurt or sour cream route rather than icky mayo. i just can't handle it. :)

eatlivetravelwrite said...

You KNOW Kate....

We could do an exchange - pecans for some Neuhaus pralines.... Mmmmm manons...

Kate said...

Monique, it IS a classic. For me, it's also a part of my childhood. Every time I make this, I think of my grandmother. I know I ate it other places, but it's always her that I think about.

Grace, we had a pecan tree in our yard for a while. I used to climb up it in the summer to hide and spy. In the fall, the nuts have double shells, and you have to work really hard to get them out. I normally don't eat a lot of mayo as is, but here I like it with the apples and the celery.

ELTW, you might just have a deal there. I can tell you, though, that there are WAY better chocs than Neuhaus available in my little village.... Let's email.

Juliana said...

Just lovely, like the simplicity of the salad and very refreshing with apples :-)

Kate said...

Great salad. Waldorf is one of my favorites..I think it is the tang of the dressing and the crunch!