The man widely credited for this salad – Oscar Tschirky, the Waldorf-Astoria’s long-time maître d’hôtel at the turn of the 20th century.

Deemed it necessary to include the following extremely specific instruction in the original recipe, which is only three sentences long: ‘Be very careful not to let any seeds of the apple be mixed with it.’ I’ve gone one better and scrapped the apple entirely.

Kohlrabi’s apple-y shape and sweetness makes it an obvious addition to Oscar’s classic combo, which was originally apple–celery–mayo, but has since had a squillion iterations (probably because the recipe is indeed so vague, besides the bit about the seeds) – including the addition of walnuts, which I deem entirely mandatory, seeing as both celery and kohlrabi love this nut.


2 tablespoons currants 
1 French shallot, finely chopped
1/4 cup (60 ml) chardonnay vinegar
1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
1 cup (115 g) walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
1 purple kohlrabi, small leaves reserved
1 celery heart, small leaves reserved
1 Packham pear, thinly sliced
100 g (31/2 oz) red or green grapes or fresh currants, bigger ones halved
1 bunch of chives, cut into 3 cm (11/4 inch) lengths
1/2 cup (125 g) mayonnaise 
juice of 1 lemon 


Place the currants and shallot in a bowl, pour the vinegar over and set aside for 5 minutes to macerate and pickle. Stir in the olive oil and half the walnuts and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, shred the kohlrabi into matchsticks, thinly slice the celery and soak them in a bowl of iced water until ready to serve.

Drain the kohlrabi and celery, then gently mix the pear through. Stir some of the walnut vinaigrette through, then arrange on a serving plate.

Drizzle the remaining vinaigrette over, then scatter with the grapes, chives, reserved celery and kohlrabi leaves and remaining walnuts.

Mix the mayonnaise and lemon juice until well combined, drizzle over the salad and serve immediately.


Kohlrabi is seasonal, so if you have a hankering for this salad but no kohlrabi is forthcoming, sub in some extra celery and pear, or green apple if you must.

Recipe from In Praise of Veg by Alice Zaslavsky


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