The original Waldorf salad was created at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York in the late 1890s by Chef Oscar Tschirky. It was considered the height of sophistication and originally was nothing more than apples, celery, and mayonnaise. Chopped nuts and grapes came later. My version features shrimp.
Put the shrimp in a steamer basket over simmering water and steam until just cooked through, about 3 min. (the center should still be slightly translucent). Let cool.
In a medium bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, buttermilk, lemon juice, tarragon, and mustard. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cut the shrimp into 1/2-inch pieces and mix in a large bowl with the apples, grapes, celery, and almonds. Toss with enough of the dressing to coat the ingredients well (you may not need it all). Taste and add more salt, pepper, or lemon juice as needed. Sprinkle with the chives, if using. Serve the salad on beds of lettuce leaves or put the leaves next to the salad and have guests spoon some of the salad into a leaf and roll it up to eat out of hand.
nutrition information (per serving):
based on eight servings;
Photo: Scott Phillips