It's time to start thinking about salads that can be made with ingredients other than the usual suspects; green leaves, tomatoes and cucumbers. They're gone until next summer - unless you want to consider hothouse greens which aren't bad at all or imported tomatoes which taste something like pink angora sweaters (even if they're "tomato" red) and cucumbers that have traveled halfway around the world. I found a pile of ingredients at last week's Hudson Farmers' Market and was inspired to made them into a Hudson Valley kind of Waldorf salad.
According to Jean Anderson, writing in her information-filled "The American Century Cookbook" (Clarkson Potter, 1997), "The first Waldorf Salad was created in New York City in 1893 by Oscar Tschirsky, the formidable maitre d'hotel at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The original recipe was nothing more than a mix of diced red-skinned apples, celery, and mayonnaise. The chopped nuts were added later (perhaps by Rector's, another Manhattan restaurant...)."
I picked up a celery root, some radishes, and apples at the market. They seemed to whisper, rather loudly, "make me into a Waldorf Salad". Which I did, adding a few raisins to the mix as well - some people use grapes. That's a good idea too - especially now when you can find highly-flavored Finger Lakes' grapes in some markets.
I also bought a cabbage and decided to thinly slice a quarter of it and use it to make a bed for the the salad which traditionally sits on lettuce leaves.
HUDSON VALLEY WALDORF SALAD
Serves 4 - 6
For the Salad:
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 medium celery root
1 - 2 sweet apples such as Fuji or Gala
4 medium radishes cut into thin half moons
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup good quality commercial mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon salt
a pinch of freshly ground white pepper
For the Bed:
quarter green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons plain, whole milk yogurt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
pinch of salt
1. Add the lemon juice to a large mixing bowl. Peel the celery root and then use a box grater to shred it directly into the lemon juice and toss immediately. This prevents the celery from turning brown. Cut the apple into quarters, remove the core and cut it into chunks tossing it with the celery root so it doesn't turn brown. Add the radishes, walnuts, raisins, mayonnaise, salt and pepper. Toss everything together to thoroughly coat all of the ingredients.
2. Add the shredded cabbage to a mixing bowl. Add the yogurt, chives and salt. Toss together.
3. To serve; arrange the cabbage on a serving platter or dish so it covers it all the way to the sides. Mound the Waldorf Salad on top of the cabbage. Garnish with a few extra toasted walnuts if you like.
I feel like just about everyone I've ever met in my life has passed through Hudson this past year - and more will follow. Two of the people that I was most delighted to bump into were Nonie and Walt Bauer. I saw them in the summer at the Farmers' Market. Nonie & Walt are the owners of Twin Apiaries in Climax, NY, just on the other side of the river. Walt collects and processes the honey - he keeps hives spread out over two counties - and Nonie makes the most fabulously honey-fragrant candles with another product those industrious bees are busy making - wax. I had been buying candles for at least two decades from the Bauers' stand at the Union Square Greenmarket in NYC. Nonie makes beautiful shapes and sizes in natural honey color, sage green and pale burgundy. My favorite shape are 14-inch, four-sided tapers. The Bauers now only go into the city every other Saturday - but they keep a little shop in Climax where they sell their honey and candles. Call ahead, 518 - 731-8303 for hours and directions.
SUSANSIMONSAYS: report: Olanfest was a wonderful event. Somehow cozy and congenial under a tent, beautifully decorated by Hudson Home. Food was generously, and plentifully provided by 10 of the Hudson Valley's most accomplished chefs. There was a very fine signature cocoktail served named for the event, "The Afterglow". A good time was had by all - and the rain miraculously held off until just the end of the event. Mark your calendar for next year.