Created in the late 1800’s in New York City, a Waldorf Salad of apples, celery, walnuts, dressed in mayonnaise, served with or without lettuce is a classic.
History notes that the hotel maitre’, Oscar Tschirky is the person to receive the credit for this creation. And when he published a cookbook with announcements of this dish to the world, he became a legend.
In the original version of this salad Oscar Tschirky, did not include the walnuts; they were added later in another version. This second version, which has the walnuts in it, is the version that we see served throughout the United States.
The original recipe had peeled and cored apples cut into small bite pieces with matching sized celery pieces. They were tossed with a good quality mayonnaise and served. The next version added the walnuts which, today is its signature item in this salad.
Our best recipes have simple ingredients, they are simple to assemble and provide a wide variety of tastes in just one dish. I love salads that can become a full meal, especially when I’m in the mood for sweet and sour in my courses. And when the salad is the main entree, it leaves the dessert selections wide open. This salad meets those requirements and holds its star attraction for me.
I’ve chosen the bib lettuce because of its smooth texture, the apples in lemon juice combine both the sweet and sour, and the walnuts with the sugar again bring out richness with sweetness in the same bite. The dressing adds a creamy richness with a good quality mayonnaise and the distinct flavor of mustard and spice. This salad is an artisan’s piece of work!
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Here’s my version, not much has changed. You can also check out Nicky’s version on her website.
The Waldorf Salad
- 2 Apples – peeled, cored and diced
- 2 Stalks celery – diced
- Lemon juice – half a lemon
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ½ tbs Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper
- Bibb lettuce
- ½ cup walnuts – plain or sugared
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup water
Adjust the dressing to your taste; you want a good coverage on the fruit where you can identify each bite. Some like a heavier coverage.
- Peel, core and dice the apples and put them in a bowl. Sprinkle the lemon juice over the apples to keep them from turning brown. Add in the diced celery and toss everything together.
- Mix your mayonnaise and mustard in a separate bowl, salt and pepper to taste. Add the salad dressing to the apples and celery and mix everything.
Sugaring the walnuts:
- Combine the sugar and water in a pot over medium heat and allow the sugar to melt and the sauce to thicken. Add in the walnuts and mix well. Next lay the walnuts out on a tray and allow the sugar to harden again.
Put the lettuce on the plate, scoop the fruit mixture and top it with walnuts. Add a glass of wine a basket of bread and finish it off with toffee.