I loved the creamy Waldorf salad loaded with mayonnaise that my grandmother made. The 70’s were definitely the salad days for mayo in my youth. I’d only had creamy potato salad, never one with laced with vinaigrette until much later. And I was a child prodegy when in came to making composed salads of canned pears over crisp iceberg lettuce crowned with big dollops of mayo and shredded cheddar cheese.
That was soooo 40 years ago. The apple season has again got me hankering for Waldorf. My 21st century Waldorf is the usual wonderful blend of celery, apples and walnuts, but this time the raisins are replaced with dried cranberries and the salad is dressed with a sophisticated walnut oil vinaigrette. Yes, there is a spoonful of mayo in it for body and personal reasons. Serve it on a bed of peppery watercress. Keep this modern Waldorf in mind for the upcoming holidays. It’s perfect for taking to a potluck, Thanksgiving dinner, or a fall side for pork or any kind of poultry.
If you’ve never tried it, you’ll love the earthy, big flavor of toasted walnut oil. It’s just so French. It is expensive, but lasts a long time. Get a can and keep it in the refrigerator. You may think it is hard to find, but if we can get it in the regular supermarket in Nashville, you can probably find it in your area, too. Here’s the walnut oil brand we use.
- 2 medium Golden Delicious apples, cored and diced
- 1 cup sliced celery
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
- 1 bunch watercress, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1/4 cup walnut oil or olive oil
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Combine the apples, celery, cranberries, and walnuts together in a medium mixing bowl.
- Whisk together the salad dressing ingredients in a separate small bowl.
- Toss the dressing with the apple mixture.
- Spread the watercress on a shallow platter.
- Top with the dressed apple mixture.