We set out to enliven a classic salad-without forgetting what it's all about.
Why This Recipe Works
Over the years, this classic salad—created in 1893 at New York’s Waldorf Hotel by legendary maître d’hôtel Oscar Tschirky—has undergone many changes. We brought it back to basics. While many recipes we tried for Waldorf Salad called for diced Granny Smith apples, we preferred our salad when the tart Grannies were balanced with sweet Braeburn or Gala apples. We toasted the walnuts—usually tossed in raw—to enhance their flavor. We also added golden raisins, plumped in a little water, for sweetness.
Dressed with mayonnaise alone, the salad was gloppy and greasy. Adding lemon juice helped, but tasters preferred the flavor of cider vinegar, which subtly reinforced the taste of apple. A spoonful of honey and a healthy shake of salt and pepper helped unite the flavors.