Mar 2, 2015

Waldorf Salad Shanghai-style

John and I have visited the 1000 Islands many times and love to
tour the grounds of Boldt Castle where George Boldt, the owner of the Waldorf Astoria was building a European-style castle in the early 1900s. 

Waldorf Salad was an instant success when it was created by the Waldorf Astoria’s maître d'hôtel, Oscar Tshcirky in 1896.  The original version contained apples, celery and mayonnaise served on a bed of lettuce. Chopped walnuts later became an integral part of the dish. Boldt insisted that it always be on the hotel’s menu.

Today, that iconic American hotel now has sister hotels located in several places including Shanghai. The Waldorf Astoria on the Bund in Shanghai is a luxury hotel that is home to the famed Long Bar where, during British times, patrons were positioned at the bar according to social status. The higher the status the closer to the Bund. The views of the Bund are fantastic. While in Shanghai my husband, John, and I stayed at the hotel, had a drink at the Long Bar, and had the opportunity to try the Waldorf Salad Shanghai-style.  The familiar salad had a Shanghai twist to it. 

Shanghai Waldorf Salad with Truffles & Candied Walnuts

Candied Walnuts
1.5 cups cooking oil
½ cup apple juice
1/8 cup honey
3 tb molasses
3 tbs maple syrup
½ cup walnuts

Heat the oil to 180° in a sauce pan. In a separate sauce pan warm up the apple juice, molasses & maple syrup. Bring to a strong simmer & add the walnuts and turn the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 15 min. Remove from the heat and strain the nuts, carefully fry the nuts in the oil for 20 sec, or till golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and spread out on a try that is lined with parchment paper. Allow to cool. Store in an airtight container.

1/3 cup crème fraiche
1/3 cup plain yoghurt
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbs walnut oil
Salt and ground pepper to taste
¾ tbs minced black winter truffles

Mix the crème fraiche, yoghurt and lemon juice in a bowl, whisk in the walnut oil correct the seasoning and fold in the truffle

Waldorf Salad
1 granny smith apple
1 gala apple
3 stalks julienned celery
2 tbs celery leaves

Julienne the apples (unpeeled) into matchstick size strips. Transfer into a mixing bowl, add the julienne of celery. Gently fold in the dressing till well combined. Put in serving bowls and garnish with celery leaves. Scatter with the walnuts.

George Boldt enjoyed his days in the Thousand Islands. He especially enjoyed fishing. Thousand Islands Dressing was born in Clayton, just across the river from where he was building his dream castle. Legend has it that around the turn of the century, Sophia LaLonde, wife of a 1000 Islands fishing guide, shared her dressing recipe with a prominent stage actress named May Irwin, who dubbed it Thousand Island Dressing. Irwin gave the recipe to fellow 1000 Islands resident Boldt. Boldt, in turn, instructed that it be included on the Waldorf Astoria’s menu where it was introduced to the world.

Thousand Island Dressing – Shanghai Waldorf Style

¾ cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup bottled chili sauce
2 tbsp Heinz tomato ketchup
2 tsp sweet pickle relish
Kosher salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste

In a bowl mix all ingredients together till thoroughly combined and correct the seasoning to taste.