“You’re the top! You’re a Waldorf salad. You’re the top! You’re a Berlin ballad.” Lyrics from Cole Porter’s, “You’re the Top”
It’s the perfect salad for a holiday dinner or buffet. It’s also a perfect salad to kick off an “eating lighter” regime for the new year. So, it’s just a mystery to me. How could something so simple and delicious virtually vanish from the culinary scene? After all, this is the type of recipe that everyone is looking for these days; light, healthful and with just a few ingredients that you can find at any store, any time. I’m talking about the iconic Waldorf Salad, the beautiful and colorful plate of apple, celery grapes and walnuts served on a bed of greens that was a staple on the menu at the Waldorf Hotel in New York City (before it became the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in 1897.) This recipe is more than a century old and has yet to make a splashy comeback in the way cupcakes and whoopee pies have. I say it’s time we give this seminal salad its dues and while we’re at it, let’s give it an update. By adding some diced chicken and lightening the dressing by substituting yogurt, honey and ginger for the mayonnaise, the classic Waldorf Salad gets a hearty and healthy makeover! It’s a beautiful plate as an appetizer, side salad or light main meal and should be enjoyed as much today as it was 120 years ago.