The Waldorf salad is named for the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City where it was created to feed attendees at a swanky charity ball. These days it’s more associated with dingy motel buffets inside rather rank musty dining rooms, completely edible, but demoted to a rather lack lustre sloppy side dish. I have put the original 1896 chic back into it by licking lovely cos lettuce over the grill and plating it simply rather than stirring it all together. The creamy caramelised crunch with tart little pops of glorious grape is a thing to behold on a late summer’s day.

2 small cos lettuce, cut into quarters lengthwise
1 stick of celery, cut into long bite sized slices
a small handful of walnut halves, lightly toasted and crushed
1 cup or so of fresh seedless grapes, some whole some sliced
1 large Granny Smith apple, sliced

2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp crème fraîche
150ml (approx.) mild extra virgin olive oil
a tiny drizzle of honey
salt & pepper

Whisk dressing ingredients together, season, taste and set aside in the fridge.

Quickly sear your lettuce cut side down on a hot grill just to colour it. You still want to keep the crunch.

Cut the apples and celery and place in a bowl – spoon over a little of the dressing and toss to coat everything well.

Arrange the grilled cos, dressed apple and celery on a serving platter.

Add the grapes and walnuts and dollop on the rest of the dressing. Season again with lots of black pepper and serve immediately.

Recipe and Image Fiona Hugues

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