December 7, 2009
My Waldorf Salad: a new twist on an old classic

waldorfsalad.jpgCeleriac is a problematic vegetable. It's not very pretty. And although it has a subtle celery flavor, it is easily overpowered by other flavors. Despite many recipes floating around for mashed celeriac, its texture really doesn't lend itself well to mashing. And subtle can easily fade into "dull" if you aren't careful. The classic French treatment is a remoulade, i.e. a kind of a celariac coleslaw. It's not unpleasant, but it lacks the crunchiness of a good coleslaw and rarely has enough pepper for my taste. So what do you do when it turns up in your CSA box with irritating frequency? I have mashed it. I have made a gratin. I have paired it with beans for a hearty soup. But I still felt I was missing the poor vegetable's potential somehow.

And then I had a bit of an epiphany. Lunching with a friend recently, I tasted the Waldorf salad that she'd bought. Until then, my knowledge of the great Waldorf Salad was confined to laughing at the Waldorf Salad episode of Fawlty Towers and paging through the 1938 edition of The American Woman's Cookbook, which I inherited from my grandmother. I thought the idea of mixing mayonnaise and apple was faintly disgusting and best avoided. And yet...when I finally tasted the supermarket generic salad that she'd bought, I found I liked it. The flavor combinations worked just as well as you would expect in a recipe that has stood the test of 110 years' time. And so I thought of my humble celeriac, waiting in my veg box at home. Celeriac Waldorf Salad. Perfect.

And it is. Crunchy and savory and just a bit sweet, it's a very satisfying and reasonably healthy lunch. I have to admit, though, that I'm not as much of a genius as I thought I was when I first came up with the idea of using celeriac instead of actual celery in a Waldorf Salad. A quick web search revealed that I was not the first to come up with the idea by far. But that does not make it a bad idea - far from it! So here is my version, coming in at a bare 2 WeightWatchers points per serving.

Celeriac Waldorf Salad (makes two small salads)

1/2 a medium head of celeriac (about 250-300 g), peeled and chopped in small sticks
2 apples, washed, cored and chopped in small chunks
10 walnuts
1 Tbs low fat mayonnaise
2 Tbs plain yogurt
1 tsp red wine vinegar
celery salt to taste
Garnish: a bit of chopped chives, a lettuce leaf or two

Heat the oven to 175C/350F. Spread the walnuts on a tray and place them in the oven for about five minutes, removing them just as they start to smell nutty. Do not leave them too long as they will easily burn. In the meantime, mix the mayonnaise, yogurt and vinegar in a medium bowl. Add a dash of celery salt and taste. Fold in the apples and celeriac. Chop the nuts and fold them in as well, reserve a couple pieces to place on top of the salad. Place a scoop of the mixture on a lettuce leaf or two, garnish with the chives and reserved walnuts and serve! Including the time spent preparing the celeriac and apples and toasting the walnuts, you shouldn't need more than 20 minutes for a healthy and very tasty lunch.

Posted by Meg in Sussex at December 7, 2009 5:54 AM Print-friendly version
Comments

Looks simple and tasty. Thanks for sharing the recipe. Love the blog as well.

Posted by Arizona bankruptcy (lawyer) on December 9, 2009 at 11:49 AM

Thanks for sharing the recipe! It looks like it is very easy to make. So I am going to give it a try.

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Posted by vincent on December 21, 2009 at 3:50 PM

New spin on a classic, love it! Waldorf salad is a huge fav in my family - particularly around the holidays -

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We bumped into your blog and we really liked it - great recipes YUM YUM.
We would like to add it to the Petitchef.com.

We would be delighted if you could add your blog to Petitchef so that our users can, as us,
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Petitchef is a french based Cooking recipes Portal. Several hundred Blogs are already members
and benefit from their exposure on Petitchef.com.

To add your site to the Petitchef family you can use http://en.petitchef.com/?obj=front&action=site_ajout_form or just go to Petitchef.com and click on "Add your site"

Best regards,

Vincent
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Posted by vincent on May 16, 2010 at 3:36 PM

Thanks for the recipe.Now I have another kind of salad to serve to my family.I usually do the usual salad we had,I feel so boring.

Britney

Posted by homes for sale in abbotsford on December 1, 2010 at 6:54 PM

The recipe looks really simple, but I have one question, what is celery salt ? does it help to bring out the celery taste?

Posted by shed plans guy on April 14, 2011 at 2:40 AM

Yeah you're definitely right, celery is easily overpowered by other ingredients. So having a recipe like you have here is great to get the right taste and flavor of celery. Is it ok to use celery seed and salt if you don't have celery salt?

Posted by Lara@ blooming tea on May 5, 2011 at 6:40 AM

Wow. This looks gorgeous. Iím looking forward to trying this recipe.

Posted by tracy on September 20, 2011 at 8:49 AM

Dude I love this salad a lot. It's seems like simple but taste like out of this world. I often used to have it on dinner. Thanks

Posted by Johan on February 12, 2012 at 1:37 AM

If you blanch the celery sticks for a minute it will loose some of its intensity. My grandma used to do that to make us kids eat it. YUM!!

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