Waldorf salad (waldorsalat) might not be the first thing one thinks of when picturing a side dish for the holidays in Norway, but it is a very popular classic dish, particularly next to a roast turkey on New Year’s Eve.
The origins of the salad go back to the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York in 1896. The maître d’hôtel (dining room manager of the hotel), Oskar Tschirky, created the dish, which was first served for a charity ball given in honor of the St. Mary’s Hospital for Children on March 14. His original recipe called for apples, celery and mayonnaise only. By the time the recipe appeared in later cookbooks, it contained nuts. To this day, it has many variations depending upon the recipe.
An interesting connection exists between the Waldorf Astoria Hotel and Norway, which happens to be Jørgine Boomer. Jørgine was born in Norway and later emigrated to the United States in 1903 when she was 16 years old. Her life journey would have her marry her second husband, Lucius M. Boomer, who purchased the hotel with his business partner in 1918. Together with Lucious, Jørgine managed the Waldorf Astoria for many years.
There is some speculation that Jørgine had something to do with the famous waldorf salad, but that honor will always remain with Oskar Tschirky. Perhaps it was Jørgine who had influence in making it a popular dish in Norway on her return travels – but this is merely a theory that makes for a wonderful story.
It’s quite usual to find recipes in Norway using a mixture of whipping cream and mayonnaise. This offers a nice texture and balance to what could be quite heavy when using only mayonnaise. This is a great salad to serve alongside roast turkey and chicken or atop lettuce for a light lunch.
Creamy Waldorf Salad (waldorfsalat)
- 2 sweet apples, cored and thinly sliced or cut into cubes
- 1 ½ cups (200 g) seedless red grapes, cut in half
- 2 celery sticks, with leaves, thinly sliced
- 1 cup (100 g) walnut halves, slightly toasted
- 2/3 cup (160 ml) whipping/heavy cream
- ½ cup (120 ml) mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon sugar
In a large serving bowl, add the sliced apples, grapes, celery and toasted walnuts. (Set aside a few of each if you wish to use them to garnish with.)
In a medium bowl, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the mayonnaise, lemon juice and sugar. Pour over the apple mixture and gently combine.
Garnish with reserved ingredients and serve on top of a bed of lettuce, if desired. Refrigerate until serving.