My husband works late a night or two a week, and while I miss him and our family dinners, it is also really nice to have an evening to myself. With no Daddy home kids and I eat early and then bath and bed by 7. This leaves me a few solid glorious hours to do…whatever-I-want. These are the nights when I peruse cookbooks, or do crafty things, or just cuddle up with a book and read. Sometimes I even watch a little TV. On one such night I was watching Fawtly Towers, and if you aren’t familiar with Fawlty Towers you were clearly raised in a cave, or born after 1980. Either way, you are really missing out. So I was watching the “Waldorf Salad” episode, where Basil tries to fill in for the absent chef and these pesky American’s come and order a Waldorf Salad. Basil has no idea what comprises a Waldorf Salad, and finally, in utter exasperation, exclaims “I think we are just are out of Waldorfs.” It provided me with about an hour’s worth of aftershock giggles, and a mad hankering for a Waldorf Salad.
1 cup walnuts, toasted
1 cup grapes, sliced in half
1 cup sliced celery
1 apple, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup raisins, soaked in water for 20 minutes
1 head of romaine lettuce, about 4 cups diced
1/2 cup Vegenaise
(or mayonnaise if you’d rather)
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey or agave syrup
salt and pepper to taste
If you have never had a Waldorf salad, it is traditionally some combination of walnuts, grapes, celery and apple. It usually also contains lettuce and sometimes raisins, currants or the like, all dressed in a creamy mayonnaise dressing. The sweetness of the apples and grapes really play off the creaminess of the dressing and the tartness of lemon, a usual component of the dressing. It is truly delicious, so if you have not had the pleasure, please make this salad at once, while watching Fawlty Towers.
In a 350º oven toast the walnuts for 10 minutes or until they are fragrant. Set aside. When they are cool give them a light chop to make bite sized pieces. Soak the raisins in water to plump them. When they are plumped drain off the water.
In a small bowl or a measuring cup combine the Vegenaise and lemon juice, and whisk until combined. I really dislike the flavor of mayonnaise. Really dislike it. I usually use a vegan garlic aoili
by Wildwood Organics for any recipe that calls for mayonnaise. However, in this salad I did not want a garlic hit. It just does not go with the sweetness of the fruit and the tartness of the lemons. I used Vegenaise, which is a grapeseed based mayo substitute which also has a light flavor I really prefer to eggy mayonnaise. If you don’t want to eat vegan you can use regular mayonnaise too. Add in the agave syrup or honey. This cuts some of the tartness of the lemon. Salt and pepper to taste. I used 1 teaspoon of coarse ground salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.
Chop all your ingredients in a uniform size and add them to a large bowl. Leave the lettuce aside for a moment. Lightly dress the celery, apple, grape and walnuts. Letting these ingredients sit in the dressing for even 10 minutes really adds to the texture and the depth of flavor.
When you are ready to serve, stir in the lettuce, add the raisins, and dress more if you need to.
A votre santé!