Thursday, March 7, 2013

Smoky Waldorf Salad

The Astoria Salad was the first recipe I posted on Cook In / Dine Out over a year ago (back when I thought flash photography and food were a good mix). This is similar in concept--a lighter, more modern version of the classic Waldorf salad--although this time I've given the dish added complexity with smoky flavors from the smoked olive oil (available from The Smoked Olive), smoked cheddar cheese and toasted walnuts spiced with smoked paprika and sweetened with a little maple syrup. I also swapped in fresh green grapes for the raisins, which are more appealing in this mayonnaise-free adaptation.

Smoky Waldorf Salad

Serves 4

3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken cutlets
Seasoned salt and fresh-ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup walnut halves
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
2 tsp. maple syrup
1 granny smith apple, cored and diced
2 celery ribs, diced
1/2 cup green seedless grapes, halved
2 oz. smoked cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes
2 oz. baby arugula (about 3-4 cups)

1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
Fine sea salt and fresh-ground black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp. walnut oil
1 tbsp. smoked olive oil
Pinch of soy lecithin granules (optional, to improve emulsion)

1. Heat the olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Pat the chicken cutlets dry and sauté until browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes, flipping halfway through. Season chicken with salt and fresh-ground black pepper as it cooks. Remove from pan and allow to cool. Chop the chicken into 1/2-inch cubes.

2. Heat a small frying pan over medium-low heat. Add the walnut halves and toast, stirring occasionally until fragrant, about 7-8 minutes. When almost done, sprinkle with smoked paprika then add the maple syrup and immediately stir to coat nuts evenly. Cook until the syrup has thickened and evenly coated the nuts, being careful not to overcook and burn it. Remove nuts from pan and spread out on a plate to cool.

3. Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Combine the cooked chicken, toasted walnuts, apple, celery, grapes, cheddar and arugula in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Serve in small bowls.


  1. This looks wonderful! Can't wait to try this, always looking for great recipes for SONOMA Smoked Olive Oil.

  2. Thank you! I learned about the smoked olive oil in the Washington Post recently and ordered some. I also used it to make smoked hummus:

  3. This was very good -- and my, what a pretty picture!