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Waldorf is one of those celebrity salads that has fallen out of the spotlight. He came from a generation of salads who enjoyed the heady glam days of big hats, big bands and big salads. The combination of celery, apples, walnuts and grapes in a mayonnaise dressing was a real show stopper in its time.
In his hay-day, Waldorf was spotted mingling in the poshest hotels and trendy eateries. Some rumour that he was discovered and made famous at the Waldorf Hotel (now Waldorf Astoria in NYC). Credit for his discovery is often given to Oscar Tschirky who was the matre D’ at the time, although many claimed to be a part of making the legend.
Unlike his colleague Caesar, Waldorf’s attempts at maintaining the spotlight fell short and he began to wilt in a fast-paced world of ever changing food.
It seemed like a low point in his declining career came when he made a satyircal appearance on Fawlty Towers in hopes that self mockery might bolster a come back. When Basil Fawlty is commanded to make a Waldorf salad for an impudent American guest he bewilderingly replies ”I think we’re just out of Waldorfs.” Later in a fit of panic, he rages “What is a Waldorf anyway, a walnut that’s gone off?”.
Even with the ressurgence of has-been stars making their way back into the public eye, Waldorf salad has managed to keep his dignity by avoiding the most recent onslaught of reality-TV mocking comeback shows. Inspite of the temptation to sell out, Waldorf has re-invented himself for a new generation of more sophisticated eaters with a roasted Waldorf and hopefully this time he can secure his place in food history.
Roasted Waldorf Salad
2 granny smith apple, diced
2 celeriac, diced
1 red onion, diced
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup walnuts
2 Tbsp oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup white wine
pinch of yellow curry powder
1/2 cup mayonnaise
juice of 1/2 lemon
Preheat the oven to 425˚ F.
Combine celeriac, apples, red onion, vegetable oil and salt. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Blap it in the oven and roast until the celeriac is tender and everything begins to brown nicely, let’s say 30 minutes or so.
Place raisins, curry powder and wine in a small pot and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, turn off heat and cover with a lid to cool.
Toss the walnuts with oil and salt. Place evenly on a baking sheet and blap it in the oven for just a few minutes to get golden and toasted.
When the celeriac, apple and onions are done. Let them cool down to room temperature.
Mix the mayonnaise,salt and lemon juice in a big bowl. Add the roasted stuff and toss to coat. Serve with walnuts and raisins on the side.
Serves 2 for dinner or four as a salad course.
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