Waldorf Salad was invented at New York’s Waldorf Hotel in
the late 19th Century.
It combines chicken with celery, grapes, walnuts, and apples, which are usually coated in mayonnaise. This version plays upon the Turkish dish of Circassian chicken, originally from Georgia, which is shredded chicken mixed with a walnut sauce. We use black walnuts, a strong and interesting nut native to New England, to make the delicious sauce that coats the chicken, opting out of the mayonnaise. Lucky for us the super sweet Conchord grapes coincide with apple season, and we are able to make this dish with some Fall fruits.
½ lb cooked boneless skinless chicken breast*
2 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup black walnuts (or substitute regular walnuts), toasted
About ½ cup stale bread (white or wheat), soaking in water
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ cup warm vegetable or chicken broth
1-2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro leaves
4-5 mint leaves (optional)
¼ cup Conchord grapes, rinsed
½ cup green apple, small dice
1 celery rib, trimmed and thinly sliced
Shred the chicken breast with your fingers and place in a
Pulse the garlic and salt in a food processor. Add the black walnuts and cumin and continue to pulse until the walnuts have broken down and are starting to form a paste, but are not completely smooth.
Remove the bread from the water and squeeze to remove excess moisture. Add to the food processor and continue to grind.
Add the broth little by little, to give more fluidity to the sauce. You might not use all of the broth, because you don’t want the sauce to be too loose. It should remain a bit coarse.
Add the cilantro and mint to the food processor and pulse to break up the herbs.
Add the grapes, chopped apple, and celery to the bowl with
the chicken, and pour over the black walnut sauce. Use a spatula to fold the sauce over the chicken and coat everything well.
Serves 6 people as a meze, and 4 as a sandwich filing.