It took me years to find out that Waldorf Salad doesn’t involve Jello. Even the “Waldorf Salad” episode that I must’ve seen 15 times as a child didn’t tip me off. When the American tells Basil what’s in the Waldorf Salad he just ordered – “celery, apples, walnuts, and grapes, topped with mayonnaise” – Basil still seems confused. It made sense to my eight-year-old mind… because he left out the Jello!
In my world, Waldorf Salad was celery, apples, walnuts, and grapes, SUSPENDED IN GREEN JELLO and topped with mayonnaise. Simple as that.
Fast-forward to present day, and Waldorf Salad is still one of my favourite things, although I prefer it sans Jello now. When the invite came for the Caftans and Jellied Salads Party, I knew I had to make the wiggly-jiggly version of my childhood.
Now, at first glance, it doesn’t seem all that difficult to whip this up. Make Jello, stir in stuff, chill. How hard could that be?
Well, there’s one teeny-tiny thing you have to do to achieve molded salad perfection. Before you stir in all the all the pieces that make this a salad, you have to let your Jello set up a little. Otherwise, all of your lovely chopped bits won’t be evenly distributed throughout the clear green Jello.
Remember, if we’ve learned anything from the Python boys, celery, apples, walnuts, and grapes are like witches, ducks and small rocks. They float.
Jellied Waldorf Salad
1 package lime Jello
1 package lemon Jello
2 cups boiling water
1 1/2 cups cold water
2 tsp sherry or cider vinegar
1 large apple, chopped
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 cup grapes (green or red) halved
1/2 cup walnut halves, roughly chopped
Mayonnaise, for serving
In a medium bowl, add boiling water to Jello powder, stirring until completely dissolved.
Stir in cold water and vinegar.
Place in fridge for 30 – 60 mins, or until Jello is thickened, but not set. (If you over-set it at this point, just place the bowl into a larger bowl of hot water and stir until it loosens up a little.)
Stir in apples, celery, grapes and walnuts. Pour into a lightly sprayed mold and chill until completely set.
Unmold, top with a big dollop of mayo and serve!
To unmold your salad without tears: briefly dip your mold into a bowl of hot water, place a serving plate over the top, then quickly flip over. Listen for the satisfying “thwrp” sound of your jelly gracefully exiting the mold.