You’re the top! You’re a Waldorf salad.
You’re the top! You’re a Berlin ballad.
You’re the nimble tread of the feet of Fred Astaire.
You’re an O’Neill drama; you’re Whistler’s mama; you’re Camembert.
I was sent some South African apples, crisp sweet Braemars, and they were too damn good to cook. So I went classic…this is an old recipe, created in the last days of the 19th century in the big hotel kitchen of the Waldorf hotel. The vegetarian version of this salad often contains grapes, I decided to pickle them.
Pickled grapes (optional)
150ml white wine vinegar
2 tbsp of sugar
3 tbsp of salt
250g of grapes, washed, de-stemmed
1 baby gem lettuce, leaves separated, washed and dried
2 Braemar apples, halved and sliced thinly into half moons
2 sticks of celery, thinly sliced
75g of walnut
3 large pickled walnuts, thinly sliced
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1 anchovy, minced finely
125ml of walnut oil (or a mix of walnut and groundnut oil)
3 tbsps Apple cider vinegar
To pickle the grapes, use white seedless. I used ‘sultana’ grapes from my local shop Where2Sav (the ‘e’ dropped off the sign). In a small saucepan, on a low heat, dissolve the sugar and salt in the white wine vinegar and water. Using a sterile jar, place the grapes, then pour over the vinegar mixture. Seal and leave for a for days before using. A good cupboard staple.
To assemble the salad: place the leaves at the bottom of the bowl, then add the slices of apple and the crescents of celery. Sprinkle over the walnuts, then dress the salad.
The dressing is based on another classic American salad, the Caesar salad dressing. Coddle the egg by cooking it in boiling water for just one minute. Crack it into a bowl, add the mustard, garlic and anchovy, whisk until smooth. Add the oil very slowly, whisking by hand or in a blender, so that it emulsifies. Finally add the vinegar and the parmesan cheese. Add the pepper.
Finally add the pickled walnuts and pickled grapes.
This salad can be served as a starter, as a side or as an accompaniment to a cheese course.