It has been my pleasure to stay and dine at the Arizona Biltmore several times. Each time has been memorable. I really enjoy the history that goes with the Waldorf Salads that are being served now with crisp apples.
Apple Season, Bite into a “Re-Invented” Waldorf Salad
Apples are crisp and delicious at this time of year.
Enjoy a Waldorf Salad, one of the great classic apple dishes that has been around for more than 100 years at the Arizona Biltmore.
Few time-honored, popular dishes have been “improved” and “re-invented” over the years more than this famous salad. Every year brings new variations and adaptations. Some purists may believe the classic edit
on is the only true Waldorf Salad, but for the historic Arizona Biltmore (www.arizonabiltmore.com
) – which is a Waldorf Astoria Resort – it’s a culinary canvas inviting creativity.
The Waldorf Salad is a timeless dish because you can either take a bite of the past or add a new chapter to its vaunted history. With just a little improvisation, a classic can become something different and exciting with its own flavor profile.
Maitre d’hotel named Oscar Tschirky created the original salad at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in 1896. Legend has it that in response to a customer request Tschirsky invented it on the spot, tossing apples and celery with mayonnaise. Within a few years, his simple recipe had evolved – with the addition of walnuts, grapes and a honey-sour cream dressing – into what would become the Classic Waldorf Salad.
Over the more than 100 years since, chefs have experimented with a wide range of ingredients, adding an array of different flavors and textures, from various nuts and cheeses to fresh and dried fruits to citrus dressings.
At the Arizona Biltmore, three different versions of the acclaimed crunchy treat are on the menu:
– Classic Waldorf Salad: Largely a “bite of the past” but not without contemporary updates such as using creme fraiche instead of sour cream and serving it inside a hollowed-out apple.
– Wright’s Waldorf Salad: This is a semi-classic edition apropos to the resort’s iconic and historic restaurant, Wright’s at The Biltmore, which serves classic favorites updated for today’s tastes. Ingredients such as honey, sugar and walnut oil, and slicing the apples into matchstick size, reset the flavor and texture profile.
– Frank & Albert’s Waldorf Salad: The legendary, 83-year-old Biltmore does its greatest engineering of the original here, mixing in bacon and blue cheese as well as a spicy orange vinaigrette to replace the traditional sour cream-based dressing – which is perfectly in keeping with the venue, the resort’s popular and trendy new Frank & Albert’s restaurant.
With the fall season here, the time is ripe for making Waldorf Salads at home. Follow the Arizona Biltmore’s recipes below, or maybe do a little improvisation of your own (you have permission, after all the Arizona Biltmore is part of the Waldorf Astoria Resorts collection).
Whatever you choose to do, here are two critical tips that always apply: sample the apples in advance to make sure they are crisp and delicious and not mealy, and don’t cut up the apples until just before you’re ready to serve because they oxidize quickly and will turn dark.
Classic Waldorf Salad
1 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon creme fraiche
1 Granny Smith apple, diced small
1 Gala apple, diced small
1/4 cup sliced grapes
2 Gala apples, tops removed and insides hollowed out
Add mustard, honey and creme fraiche to a large mixing bowl. Mix well. Add apples and grapes. Toss well. Spoon into apples and serve. Makes 2 servings.
Wright’s Waldorf Salad
1 Granny Smith apple, sliced into matchsticks
1 Gala apple, sliced into matchsticks
1/2 cup diced celery root
3 halves candied walnuts
1/4 cup grapes, cut in half
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 tablespoons creme fraiche or sour cream
3 celery leaves, diced
2 tablespoons walnut oil
Add apples, celery root, candied walnuts and grapes to a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, add yogurt, honey, sugar, creme fraiche, celery leaves and walnut oil. Mix dressing until well-blended. Add to apple mixture and toss well. Serve immediately. Makes 2 servings.
Frank & Albert’s Waldorf Salad
Spicy Orange Vinaigrette:
1 quart orange juice
1 cup olive oil
1 cup pickled ginger juice
Salt and pepper to taste
4 small pieces of frisee, soaked in water
1/4 cup spinach
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
2 tablespoons blue-cheese crumbles
1/4 cup grapes, sliced
1/2 cup Red Delicious apples, thinly sliced
1/4 cup julienne carrots
1/4 cup thick-cut bacon, diced
1/4 cup Spicy Orange Vinaigrette
To make vinaigrette, place all ingredients in a blender and mix well.
For salad, shake frisee dry and add to a salad bowl. Add spinach and top with pecans, blue cheese, grapes, apples, carrots and bacon. Drizzle salad dressing. Cover and refrigerate remaining dressing for future use. Makes 1 serving.