All About Salads
( Originally Published 1904 )
A salad well prepared is a charming compound, and, when taken with plenty of oil, very wholesome, attractive, and agreeable; badly prepared it is an abomination. A Spanish proverb says that four persons are needed to make a good salad-a spendthrift to throw in the oil, a miser to drop in the vinegar, a lawyer to administer the seasoning, and a madman to stir the whole together. Lettuce is generally supposed to form the foundation of a salad, but there are few fresh vegetables that may not he used: and almost every known vegetable is, when plainly dressed, used cold for salads; and cold meat, fish, and game are served in the same way. Amongst the vegetables appropriate for salads may be named asparagus, artichokes, beetroot boiled, basil, celery, chives, cu-cumbers, chervil, cauliflowers, dandelion-leaves, endive, French beans, garlic, lettuces of all kinds. lentils, mustard and press, mint, onions, parsley, potatoes, radishes, shallots, sorrel; tarragon, tomatoes, Windsor beans, and water-cress. Though a variety in salads is easily se-cured, great care is necessary in the preparation of the dish, and three or four rules must be -closely observed if the salad is to be a success. First, the vegetables must be young, freshly cut, in season; and in good condition. If possible, they should-be gathered early in the morning, or late in the evening, and should be kept in a cool, damp place. Secondly, the vegetables should not be allowed to lie long in water. If withered, they may be put in for a short time to render them a little crisp, but if fresh, they should be simply rinsed through the water and dried immediately. Thirdly—and this point requires most careful attention—the vegetables must be rendered perfectly dry after washing. The best way of doing this is to drain the salad and shake it first in a colander or salad-basket, and after-wards in a clean napkin held by the corners and shaken lightly till the salad is dry. Fourthly, cut the salad with a silver knife, or tear it in shreds; do not prepare it until a short time be-fore it is wanted, and on no account mix the salad-dressing with it until the last moment. It is a very usual and excellent plan to pour the liquid into the bottom of the bowl, lay the shred ,vegetables upon it, and mix the salad at table. A wooden' fork and spoon are the best for this purpose. Salads may be garnished in various ways, and afford ample opportunity for the display of artistic taste. Boiled beetroot cut into slices stamped into fancy shapes or cut into trellis-work, sliced cucumbers, olives, hard-boiled eggs cut into quarters or rings, radishes,-nasturtium-leaves, and flowers, etc., may all be used. .When these are arranged tastefully the salad presents a very attractive appearance. Of course the garniture must not entirely hide the salad.
LESSON RECIPES FOR SALADS
BOILED SALAD DRESSING
1/2 teaspoonful mustard; 1 teaspoonful salt; sprinkle cayenne; 1 even tablespoonful sugar; 1 egg; 1/4 cup vinegar, or juice of 1 lemon; 1/2 cup milk; 1 tablespoonful butter, or 2 table-spoonfuls salad-oil.
Mix the 4 dry seasonings. Beat the egg, scald the vinegar and milk in separate dishes, and add them with the butter. Cook it in a double boiler, stirring constantly until it thickens like soft custard. If it curdles, beat it until smooth with an egg-beater. If desired cold, strain it into a china dish, and set away to cool.
The sugar may be omitted if preferred. If the seasoning is too strong, use smaller quantities. Try 1/4 teaspoonful of mustard.
Take a fresh, crisp cabbage, and pull off the torn, dirty leaves. Cut it into several pieces, and shave each piece into thin strips, using the hard stalk as a handle in holding the piece. Strain the salad dressing, while hot, over the cabbage, mix it well, spread it out, and set it away to cool. When ready to serve, arrange in a neat mound in the centre of a clean dish. The amount of dressing in the recipe is sufficient for a 1-pound cabbage. If the cabbage is wilted, soak it for an hour or more in cold salted water.
Pick the leaves off from the head of lettuce, look them over carefully to be sure that they are whole, clean, and free from insects. Wash them in cold water, and shake the leaves gently in a cloth to dry them; arrange on a flat dish with the smaller leaves inside the larger, and serve, with the cold salad dressing on the table.
Cold lean mutton, lamb, pork, beef, chicken, or veal may be-freed from fat, bones, skin, and gristle, cut into small neat pieces, stirred into the hot salad dressing, placed on the ice, to get very cold, and served on a pretty dish.
An attractive way of serving these salads is to arrange lettuce leaves on a platter, and put a tablespoonful of the mixture in the centre of each leaf.
The meat of a boiled lobster may be cut, and mixed with the dressing, and served in the same way as the meat. Bits of the lobster-coral are sometimes placed on top of the salad to give an ornamental effect.
Boil 6 potatoes, cut in thin slices, pour the hot dressing over and let it stand until cold. 2 tablespoonfuls of chopped celery may be mixed with the potatoes, and 1 teaspoonful onion juice may be stirred into the dressing after it is cooked. Serve in the same manner as the meat salads. Sliced boiled beets are sometimes added.
Pour boiling water over 8 or 10 tomatoes, and let it stand a moment. Pour off, and add cold water. Slip off the skins, slice, and set away to become cold. Serve with the cold dressing. If desired, the slices of tomatoes may be served on lettuce leaves.
Remnants of cold cooked carrots, beans, beets, peas, and asparagus, and raw celery, may be cut in small, neat pieces, mixed with, the hot dressing, and served when cold. A teaspoonful of onion juice added to the dressing is an improvement.
Salad dressings are frequently bought of the grocer, and sent to table in the bottle in which they are purchased. Though, these creams are many of, them very good, epicures in salad al-ways prefer that the salad dressing should be prepared at home. Mayonnaise salad sauce is perhaps to be preferred to any other, and for this a recipe is given.
A foolish prejudice is felt by many persons against the use of oil in salads, but this is gradually disappearing, as the majority of those who are prevailed upon to overcome it end by being exceedingly partial to what they had before disliked, and they also find that oil tends to prevent the fermentation of the raw vegetable, and is, besides, an antidote to flatulency. Seeing, however, that this prejudice still exists, two or three recipes are given of salad dressings without oil as well as with it. It has been already said that the dressing should not be mixed with the salad until the last moment. Nevertheless, it may always be prepared some hours before it is wanted, and stored in a cool, airy place. When salads are much used, a good plan is to make sufficient for two or three days' consumption, and to bottle it off for use.
No. 1. Put a saltspoonful of salt, 1/2 salt-spoonful of white pepper, a teaspoonful of mixed mustard, a pinch of cayenne, and a tea-spoonful of powdered sugar into a bowl. Mix these ingredients thoroughly, and add, first by drops and afterwards by teaspoonfuls, 2 table spoonfuls of oil, 4 tablespoonfuls of milk, and 2 tablespoonfuls of vinegar. Stir the mixture well between every addition. The sauce ought to look like cream. A teaspoonful of tarragon vinegar may be added, or not.
No. 2. Boil an egg till hard, and lay it in cold water for a minute. Strip off the shell, and put the yolk into a bowl. Rub it well with the back of a wooden spoon, and put with it a teaspoonful of mixed mustard, a saltspoonful of salt, 1/2 salt-spoonful of white pepper, a saltspoonful of powdered sugar, and a pinch of cayenne. Add, first by drops and afterwards by saltspoonfuls, a tablespoonful of oil, 6 tablespoonfuls of thick cream, and, lastly 2 tablespoonfuls of vinegar. Beat _the sauce well. between every addition.
Mince the whole of the egg, or cut it into rings, with which to garnish the salad.
No. 3 (Dr. Kitchener's recipe). Boil 2 eggs for a. quarter of an hour. Lay them in cold water, and in a few minutes strip off the shells, and lay the yolks in a basin. Rub them till smooth with the back of a wooden spoon, and -mix with them, very gradually, first a table-. spoonful of water or thick cream, and after-wards 2 tablespoonfuls of oil. When these are well mixed, add a teaspoonful of salt or powdered sugar, a teaspoonful of made mustard, and, lastly, and very gradually, 3 tablespoonfuls of vinegar. Put the sauce at the bottom of the bowl, lay the salad-on the top, garnish with the whites of the eggs cut into rings, and do not mix the salad till the last moment.
No. 4. Mix a saltspoonful of salt and salt-spoonful of pepper with a tablespoonfui of oil. When the salt is dissolved, put in 4 additional tablespoonfuls of oil, and then pour the sauce over the salad. Mix thoroughly, and add a tablespoonful of good vinegar, and a tablespoonful of tarragon or cucumber vinegar. Mix again, and serve.
No. 5. Rub the hard-boiled yolks of 3 eggs till smooth, and mix in a saltspoonful of salt, a teaspoonful of raw mustard, a saltspoonful of powdered loaf sugar, 1/2 saltspoonful of white pepper, and the well-beaten yolk of a raw egg. Add gradually 4 tablespoonfuls of thick cream, and 2 tablespoonfuls of strained lemon juice. Beat the dressing thoroughly between every addition.
No.6. Beat the yolks of 2 hard-boiled eggs till smooth. Add a teaspoonful of salt, a tea-spoonful of powdered sugar, a pinch of cayenne, 1/4 of a tablespoonful of white pepper, and, gradually, 2 tablespoonfuls of oil, the strained juice of a lemon, and 2 tablespoonfuls of light wine.
No. 7. Rub the yolks of 2 hard-boiled eggs till smooth with a teaspoonful of vinegar. Add a teaspoonful each of mustard, sugar, salt, and pepper, a tablespoonful of claret, and a finely minced shallot or young onion. Beat in, first by drops and afterwards by teaspoonfuls, 4 tablespoonfuls of salad-oil, and, lastly, add a teaspoonful of tarragon vinegar and a table-spoonful of white-wine vinegar.
No. 8. Beat a spoonful of flour with the yolks of 3-eggs. Add a teaspoonful of mixed mustard, 1/2 saltspoonful of salt, 1/2 teaspoonful of pepper, 2 tablespoonfuls of vinegar, and 3 table-spoonfuls of water. Cut 3 ounces of streaky bacon into small pieces, and fry these till they begin to turn color. Pour in the salad mixture, and stir the whole over the fire till the cream is thick and smooth. Pour it out, and continue stirring until cool, and add a little more vinegar and water if necessary. The sauce ought to be as thick as custard.
No. 9 (named Sauce a la Lowry). Beat the yolk of a raw egg. Mix with it a pinch of salt, a pinch of white pepper, and, gradually, 3 tea-spoonfuls of salad-oil, a teaspoonful of essence of anchovy, and 2 teaspoonfuls of vinegar.