The first time heard of a Waldorf salad was as a kid, watching Fawlty Towers with my dad.
In the context of 1970s England it sounded pretty weird and wrong to me – and no doubt there have been some awful examples served in dodgy British hotels – however over the years it’s a salad I have grown to love in all its raw, retro glory.
The contrast of crunchy, nutty, sweet and tart elements is enhanced here by the inclusion of a few little extras. Blue cheese is practically BFFs with all the basic ingredients of a Waldorf (celery, apple, walnuts and grapes) and lends a delightful tang and richness to the dish. Radicchio is in season right now and, as well as imparting a delicate, bitter flavour to the salad, the intense purple colour is a feast for the eyes. Who could resist!
NB: I highly recommend toasting the walnuts as they develop a deep, nuanced aroma and it will help them to remain perfectly crunchy in your salad.
Serves 3-4 as a side or starter
- 1 large/2 small in-season red apples (such as Lady Williams)
- 1 stick celery
- 1 small handful of red grapes
- 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
- 1/2 head radicchio
- 100g Gorgonzola dolce or other blue cheese
- 3 tbs. best quality mayonnaise (ideally homemade)
- juice of half a lemon
- 2 tbs buttermilk or full-fat milk
1. Whisk together the mayonnaise, half the Gorgonzola, lemon juice and buttermilk/milk. Season to taste.
2. Cut the grapes in half.
3. Chop the radicchio leaves into wide strips.
4. Cut the apple into matchsticks.
5. Slice the celery on the diagonal so that the pieces are roughly the same size as the apple matchsticks.
6. Combine the apple, celery, grapes, radicchio and most of the walnuts in a large bowl.
7. Add the dressing and toss well to combine.
8. Crumble over the remaining walnuts and Gorgonzola.
Recipe by Olivia Mackay, www.scoffandquaff.wordpress.com