Just about three weeks ago, Waldorf Astoria Berlin celebrated its opening. I like the idea of some New York flair around here, and like many others I have been kind of surprised that it has been built in Western Berlin. The area around Zoo station has not really been a hip place in recent years unlike Mitte, Prenzlauer Berg or – in recent times – parts of Oberschöneweide and Rummelsburg which continue to attract the Berlin art scene.
But since a while, there are some interesting things going on in the old Western Centre, among them the rebuilding of the so-called 1950ies Bikini House which has been home to designers, artists, gastronomies and cultural venues. The Zoo Palast cinema which has hosted the Berlinale Film Festival for decades will be part of the renewing activities as well. So quite some interesting activities.
And now there’s the Waldorf Astoria – the place where once the famous Waldorf salad has been invented. The ingredients are quite simple, but like every simple dish, the taste is dependent on good quality and proper handling. We have celery root in it and apples, walnuts, mayonnaise, cayenne pepper, and lemon juice. That’s it. But it’s important to let the mixture infuse for a while, so that the juices of apple and celery make the whole thing mellow. To make it more light, I use Crème fraîche instead of mayonnaise, and to make it more colourfull, I take kaki fruits instead of apple. Serve it on crostinis and if you like, add some spices to the crostini as well. I’m curious how they present it in Waldorf Astoria Berlin – here’s my version and a glimpse at three new and old legends:
Here’s my recipe:
Take a piece of celery root and rasp it finely. Mix with a bit of lemon juice and some Crème fraîche (just as much as it needs to get a nice consistency). Add a bit of cayenne pepper and some salt. Leave it like this for about an hour. Cut a kaki fruit into small juliennes – I like it best if in the end there’s twice as much celery than fruit. Crack a couple of walnuts and mix both the fruits and the nuts with the celery. Leave for another half an hour. Take some slices of Baguette or Ciabatta and roast it in the oven or fry slightly in a pan with some sun flower oil and some spices you like. I took a slight touch of pepper and rasped vanilla as I have just bought a vanilla bean grinder which I instantly fell in love with. Put the crostini on a plate and arrange some salad on it. Decorate with some more walnuts and enjoy the Big Apple feeling – maybe with a piece of New York cheesecake after this course ;-).
And well, there’s another reason for the kakis: A beautyful mini blog event by Uda of mittagbeimutti, based on a digital conversation that we lately had about celery and kaki. Check out if you are looking for some more great ideas how to combine them: