Oscar Tschirky, the maître d’ of the old Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City, created the original recipe for Waldorf salad, which consisted of equal amounts of chopped apples and celery blended with mayonnaise. Later, walnuts were added, increasing the popularity of this salad, and over time the recipe has been embellished with various ingredients to fit the tastes of the period. In the eastern United States, the dish has become a part of the traditional Thanksgiving meal, adding a taste of freshness to the feast.
Recipe courtesy of Williams-Sonoma and Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Library Series, Thanksgiving & Christmas, by Chuck Williams (Time-Life Books, 1993).
- 3/4 cup walnut or pecan halves
- 4 crisp apples, such as Pippin, McIntosh or Rome Beauty
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 cup finely diced celery
- 3 green onions, including some of the tender green portions, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh mint
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 or 2 heads Bibb lettuce
- 1 Preheat an oven to 200°F. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and bake until lightly toasted, 6 to 7 minutes. Coarsely chop and set aside.
- 2 Peel, core and quarter the apples, and cut into 1/2-inch dice. In a bowl, toss the apples with the lemon juice. Add the celery, bell pepper, green onions and nuts and stir to combine.
- 3 In another bowl, combine the sour cream, mustard, honey and mint. Whisk until well blended, and season with salt and pepper.
- 4 Separate the lettuce leaves and use only the crisp inner leaves; reserve the larger outer leaves for another use. Arrange the lettuce leaves around the rim of a serving platter. Add the dressing to the apple mixture and mix well. Spoon the salad onto the center of the platter. Serves 8 to 10.