Despite the five-star name, there’s nothing hoity-toity about Waldorf chicken salad. It’s easy to prepare using very basic ingredients. Originally a meatless light course, I added diced chicken to my Waldorf salad to make it more appetizing for my very carnivorous husband. Without the chicken, I doubt if he would have touched it.
Who invented the Waldorf salad?
According to one website, it wasn’t a chef but the maître d’hôtel (dining room manager), Oscar Tschirky, of the Waldorf Hotel (before it was the Waldorf-Astoria) in New York who invented it. The original Waldorf salad, first served during the last decade of the 19th century, contained only apples, celery and mayonnaise. Nuts were added some three decades later.
To make this Waldorf chicken salad, I used boiled chicken but chicken cooked in some other way is just fine and may even give the salad a more unique taste. Grilled chicken, for instance, will add an interesting smoky flavor to the salad.
- 2 apples (you can combine two varieties), peeled or not
- 2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
- seasoned and cooked meat from one chicken breast (mine was boiled but you can try grilled or broiled)
- 1 to 2 stalks celery
- 100 grams walnuts
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- freshly ground black pepper
- lettuce to serve
Core the apples and cut into 3/4-inch cubes. Toss with the lemon juice.
Cut the chicken meat into strips about 3/4-inch wide. Cut the strips horizontally to get 3/4-inch cubed pieces.
Toss the walnuts in a hot oil-free pan until glistening with its own oil. Cool slightly and coarsely chop.
Cut the celery stalks horizontally into half-inch slices.
Toss everything together with 1/4 cup of mayonnaise. If the salad appears too dry, add more mayonnaise.
Chill for a few hours before serving the Waldorf chicken salad on a bed of lettuce.