waldorf salad bruschetta with sugared walnuts

Growing up in Australia is about as far from New York as one could get, yet for special occasions – such as a party, a family barbie or picnic, my aunt would make Waldorf salad. As a child I didn’t fully comprehend the origin of this famous salad, I just knew it was from America & sounded rather posh. Fast forward to now. Last night, sitting in my home in Florida, I came upon a contest that’s being held to “refresh” the Waldorf salad. Not being one to enter contests of any kind because they’re…well…too…competitive, this one struck a cord with me, a little nostalgia if you may. This is what I came up with…

waldorf salad bruschetta

Meet…Waldorf Salad Bruschetta with Sugared Walnuts. The rules for the contest were simple: You had to use apples, celery & the star ingredient – walnuts. It is after all being sponsored by California walnuts. And as the winner will have his or her recipe recreated & put on the brunch menu at the Waldorf Astoria for a day, so I thought my dish needed to be kind of brunchy. I mean, who doesn’t love toast for brunch, right? I know I’m gluten-free these days but I wasn’t going to experiment with a flipping gluten-free bread in a competition…not yet anyway. So I used regular flour in the bread, and I tasted it to make sure all was ok…don’t judge me, I couldn’t submit a recipe for a contest & not try it. It was delicious by the way. And I actually had all the ingredients at home to make. A sign, some sort of good omen perhaps…

waldorf salad bruschetta w sugared walnuts

My aunt – Aunty Dorothy, made her Waldorf salad, apart from the essentials, with marshmallows, raisins & whipped cream. I know right! Over. The. Top! You can imagine as a child how wonderful I thought it was. I didn’t use marshmallows, or whipped cream (sadly) in my recipe but I did use raisins in the bread. I’m not sure where Aunty Dorothy came up with her version. Her husband, my Uncle Bob, was from Colorado so perhaps she picked-up the recipe in one of her many trips to the US. Who knows. Sadly she is dead now so I will never find out. 

Waldorf salad prep

 I have many happy memories when I hear “Waldorf salad” thanks to all those family gatherings hosted by my aunt & uncle. Who knew decades later I’d also be married to an American & calling the US home. So this is a little tribute to my Aunty Dorothy who absolutely loved cooking, food & entertaining. I think she’d enjoy my version of this iconic salad. 

waldorf bruschetta

Waldorf Salad Bruschetta with Sugared Walnuts
Yields 12
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Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
3 hr
Total Time
3 hr 40 min
Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
3 hr
Total Time
3 hr 40 min
  2. 3/4 cup warm water
  3. 2 tablespoons honey
  4. 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  5. 2 cups bread or all-purpose, plus extra for dusting
  6. 2 tablespoons walnut oil (or olive oil)
  7. 3/4 teaspoon salt
  8. 1 cup shelled California walnuts, broken up a little
  9. 1/2 cup dark raisins, optional
  11. 1 medium egg white
  12. 3 tablespoons sugar
  13. pinch of salt
  14. 3/4 cup shelled California walnuts
  16. 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  17. 1/4 cup packed basil leaves, plus about 1/4 cup extra for garnish
  18. 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  19. 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  20. 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  21. 1 teaspoon minced shallot, optional
  22. pinch of salt
  23. 2 to 3 red apples (I used Gala), with peel, diced (my apples were about medium sized)
  24. 2 to 3 celery stalks (about 8 inches), diced
  25. celery leaves, to garnish
  1. To make the bread: Whisk warm water, honey, yeast & 1/2 cup of flour together in a large bowl. Let stand for 10 minutes until the bubbles form on top .
  2. Stir in oil, salt, walnuts, raisins & the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time until mixture forms a slightly sticky, shaggy dough. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured counter; knead, adding more flour if necessary until dough is smooth & elastic. Note: It’s better to add flour at little at a time & have a wet dough that you can add more flour to than dumping the flour in all at once & the dough being too dry.
  3. Lightly oil a medium bowl with a straight side. Place dough in bowl & lightly oil the top of dough. Cover with plastic wrap then wrap in a towel. Place in a warm location for 1 1/2 hours or until dough is about half its size again bigger.
  4. Shape bread on a lightly floured counter until it measures an 8-inch long loaf. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Cover & let stand in a warm place for 30 to 40 minutes or until the loaf has swollen.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F. Dust top of loaf lightly with a little extra flour if desired. Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes or until browned & loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Place loaf on wire rack to cool completely before cutting. Cut 1/2 inch thick slices from loaf diagonally across. I don’t use the ends so I end up with about 12 to 14 good slices. Place slices on a baking sheet, brush slices lightly with a little olive oil. Grill slices on medium heat on a preheated greased grill about 2 to 3 minutes per side or until grill marks appear.
  6. To make the walnuts: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk egg white, sugar & salt in a small bowl until white & creamy; stir in walnuts. Scrape mixture into the center of baking sheet. Spread mixture so walnuts are in one layer but all grouped together touching. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until browned. Let cool on baking sheet. When cool, remove walnuts, these mayl be a little sticky on the bottom. Chop walnut mixture; place in a sealed container until ready to use.
  7. To make the Waldorf salad: Put mayonnaise, basil, zest, juice, honey, shallot & a pinch of salt in a small to medium, deep bowl. Use a hand blender to blend until smooth. Or use an upright blender.
  8. Place apples & celery into a medium bowl. Add mayonnaise mixture; stir to coat.
  9. To assemble: Arrange grilled bread slices on a platter; top with apple mixture. Sprinkle with chopped toasted sugared walnuts, celery leaves & basil. Makes about 12.
The Fresh Aussie http://thefreshaussie.com/


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  1. I think you’ve got a winner, Lovoni! Looks great!

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