A few weekends ago I took a trip down Pitlochry way to visit some of my family who were holidaying in the area. It’s a beautiful part of the country – leafy and craggy with wide winding rivers – and we had a fantastic time walking the dogs along country roads, stopping off for lunch in the quaintest country pub I’ve ever seen this side of the Scottish border.
The sunny afternoon was made even more perfect by the discovery of a huge and very productive walnut tree. I didn’t even know we got them this far north. Within five minutes we had stuffed our pockets and three poo-bags (the only vessel on us) full of nuts and began traipsing happily down the road chatting about the banana breads and pestos and coffee cakes we were going to make with our harvests.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. Even after drying, the nuts were inedibly bitter and were fit for nowt but the compost bin. Booooo.
My consolation was to be found in the supermarket later that week. It may have just been the end of October but Christmas nuts were on sale already. Hooray! For the first time ever, I snubbed the angular Brazil nuts completely and bought a huge bag of wrinkly walnuts instead. And I knew exactly what I wanted to make with them first: a big Waldorf Salad.
If you are looking for a classic recipe here, go look elsewhere. My version of this salad is rustic, chunky, includes lettuce and is mayonnaise free. Nevertheless, it’s really, really good and surprisingly filling too.
By the by, whilst I was looking around the internet for inspiration for my waldorf salad I came across this article from a 1904 edition of the New York Times. It may just be the funniest. most adorable thing I have ever read.
One small, red apple – chopped and tossed in lemon juice to prevent discolouration
2 sticks of celery, chopped
1 baby gem lettuce, leaves separated
Handful of walnuts, gently toasted
For the dressing (based on Skye Gringell’s recipe)
1/2 tspn honey
1 tspn Dijon mustard
1 tspn white wine vinegar
1 tspn creme fraiche
1 tblspn olive oil
1 tspn chopped parsley
- Add the apple, celery, baby gem and walnuts to a big bowl
- Whisk together the dressing ingredients and spinkle over the salad.
- Toss and serve.