How to make classic Waldorf salad

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How to make classic Waldorf salad
The salad's name derives from New York's Waldorf-Astoria hotel. (Getty Thinkstock)

This very easy, simple salad has a long, rich history. It was created in the 1890's at New York's Waldorf-Astoria hotel by maître d' Oscar Tschirky. The original salad contained only mayonnaise, apples and celery, but today is usually served with walnuts and other ingredients. This recipe serves four to six.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 1 head horseradish or romaine lettuce
  • 120 ml (1/2 cup) mayonnaise
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) sour cream
  • 100 g (1/2 cup) red grapes
  • 55 g (1/2 cup) walnuts
  • 2 apples
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 1 lemon
  • Cutting board
  • Chef's knives
  • Salad utensils
  • Mixing bowl
  • Peeler

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  1. 1

    Cut the white ends off the celery ribs. Use a vegetable peeler to peel off the strings that cover the outside of the ribs.

  2. 2

    Dice the ribs into 1/4-inch squares.

  3. 3

    Cut the grapes in half, and use your fingers or a knife to break the walnuts into pieces.

  4. 4

    Wash, core and dice the apples. (See tips for apple varieties.)

  5. 5

    Place the apples, grapes, walnuts and celery in a bowl. Add the mayonnaise and sour cream and stir everything together. Squeeze a few teaspoons of lemon juice in, stir well, and taste - the lemon juice should be almost undetectable.

  6. 6

    Arrange a large whole inner leaf of romaine on each plate and top each one with a scoop of the salad.

Tips and warnings

  • If you must have the original version of the Waldorf salad (with only apples, celery and mayonnaise), omit all the other ingredients except the lettuce leaf to serve it on.
  • Use a crisp, sweet apple, like Braeburn or Fuji. Avoid Granny Smiths or Red Delicious apples.
  • In his day, Oscar Tschirky, the Waldorf-Astoria maître d' who created this salad, was quite a character. He served every US president in office during his 40-year career, and he helped set standards for fine-dining service that are still used today.

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