About a thousand years ago I tried a Waldorf salad. I don't remember the circumstances or who made it. I remember having been very young. I also remember the weather as having been distinctly chilly but not yet particularly snowy, which would put it sometime between October and early December depending on the year. I'll say it was around Thanksgiving. Maybe we made it in class or something. Anyway, when I came home from my latest pilgrimage back to my native land (Syracuse), my husband decided that we needed to throw an impromptu dinner party. Long story. Anyway, I was desperate to think of things to supplement the pulled beef he made, and maybe it's the fact that it is now apple season in Syracuse but that youthful experience with Waldorf salad was stuck in my head.
A classic Waldorf salad involves apples, celery, mayonnaise and grapes as well as walnuts. Now, I don't remember my youthful salad having had mayonnaise. I hate mayonnaise and since my recollection is so very, very positive there could not have been mayonnaise in the original. Maybe the cook used sour cream? My intention was to use yogurt here but I ran out. I decided to go with the sour cream instead. Grapes were certainly not going to be used for such a purpose in this house - my 20-month-old daughter is obsessed with "beeps" and would never let them be put anywhere but directly into her mouth. I planned to use walnuts, but the Spouse informed me that he hates walnuts. I used some roasted, salted pistachios I had on hand instead, which meant that I didn't need to add any more salt to this dish.
The result was pretty darned good, if I do say so myself. I liked the pistachios here, and I liked the apple. The celery lent a pleasing crunch and the sour cream was much lighter on the palate than mayonnaise. (At least, it was much lighter to my palate. And that's the one that counts.) Furthermore, one of our guests (who professes to detest vegetables and anything else that is not meat) took all the leftovers with him when they left, so I guess it was a hit with more than just me!
Apple and Celery Salad (serves 8; approx. $1.74/serving)
5 apples, chopped
1 bunch celery, chopped
1 bag roasted, salted pistachios
1 cup (approx.) sour cream
- I like to drop the apple pieces into a bowl of acidulated water - just a bowl of water with some lemon juice or whatever - as I cut them. This helps to make sure that the pieces do not brown. Since the browning does not really affect the taste of the apples - not for a few hours anyway - this piece of equipment is recommended but optional.
- Combine the apples, celery and pistachios in your serving vessel of choice. Toss to combine.
- Add the sour cream. Toss very well to ensure that the sour cream is evenly distributed.