Sunday, November 21, 2010

Waldorf Salad, Jamie Oliver's Way

I've long been a fan of Jamie Oliver -- his original Naked Chef series was the first cooking show I made a point to watch week to week -- and so how stoked was I to attend his cooking demo and talk in Toronto last Thursday?!

Jamie was just as cheeky, self-deprecating, and genuine as I expected him to be, and it's evident that his passion to get kids (and adults) eating healthy food -- which inspired his 'Food Revolution' in Britain -- hasn't subsided one iota. Most recently, he travelled through the U.S. and the highlights of those adventures are present in his latest show, Jamie's American Road Trip, and cookbook, Jamie's America. He cooked two recipes from the book: a red snapper ceviche similar to one he had at a Peruvian restaurant in New York City, and a steak dish with two sauces, a peanut-smoked chili sauce and a fresh tomato salsa, something he was inspired to create after time spent in L.A.

After a ridiculously decadent week that included cupcakes for dinner one night -- what would Jamie think?! -- I was craving healthy myself, so I decided to make one of the salads included in his book. Flipping through the pages I was tempted by both the Candied Bacon Green Salad and the Southern Pecan and Apple Salad, but ultimately I went with his take on the Waldorf Salad. Though I've never had one before, the Waldorf is my kind of salad. It has stuff in it. Lots of stuff. A bed of greens on a plate fails to impress me, but throw in some blue cheese, toasted walnuts, green grapes, and apple slices, and I'll perk up a bit.

I like that Jamie has lightened up the dressing by replacing mayonnaise with yogurt. I used full-fat yogurt but you could use a lower fat one if you wanted to, I'm sure it would still taste delicious.

Waldorf Salad, Jamie's Way

Serves 4

4 large handfuls of salad greens (eg. fresee, romaine, arugula, watercress, baby spinach)
2 large handfuls of seedless green or red grapes, halved
3 medium celery stalks, trimmed
2 large handfuls of walnuts (approx 4 oz), roughly chopped
Small bunch of Italian parsley
1 red apple
6 oz blue cheese

1 heaped tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp red or white wine vinegar
Good quality extra virgin olive oil
1 heaped tbsp natural yogurt
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Toss together salad greens and grapes. Peel outer layer from celery. Slice at an angle then add to greens and grapes.

Toast walnuts in a dry frying pan, shaking every 25 seconds. Watch them closely to make sure they don't burn.

Cut off tough ends of parsley stems and discard. Finely chop remaining stems and save them for the dressing. Chop the leaves and add to the salad greens. Add chopped parsley to rest of dressing ingredients -- add enough olive oil to equal about three times the amount of the combined mustard and vinegar (in other words the acidic part of the dressing). Add the yogurt, salt and pepper and either whisk together the dressing or put everything in a Mason jar and shake it up until the dressing has emulsified.

Drizzle dressing over salad leaves. Slice apple into matchsticks (or thin slices, which is what I did) and scatter over the salad. Add toasted walnuts and use hands or tongs to mix everything together. Transfer salad to platter, piling grapes and walnuts on top. Scatter bits of blue cheese over everything. Finish with a quick drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Source: Jamie's America by Jamie Oliver


  1. Wasn't he inspirational? I saw him last year and that talk inspired me to start my boys' cooking club. Love this salad too!

  2. Unfortunately I couldn't make it to see Jamie this time. But I did catch the episode of Jamie's America where he made the red snapper ceviche in that underground restaurant and wanted to make it eversince.
    What do you think of the rest of the recipes in the book?

  3. Love Jamie, hate the Waldorf. I think that's a wash ... :)