Salmagundi (probably the first version of the name but there are several different spellings) is a composed “Grand Sallat” from the 17th century. There are many variations of the recipe, crisp lettuce is always its base and although chicken is the meat most often used there are plenty of recipes that use veal, pork, duck or pigeon or even pickled herrings instead. The name of the dish was corrupted in the 18th century to Solomon Gundy, particularly in the United States, and in the 1842 gave rise to a children’s nursery rhyme/riddle in which the life of Solomon Grundy appears to take place in the process of a single week, the answer being that each day’s events happened in a different year.
Cold poached chicken
Little Gem lettuces (1 per person)
6 hard-boiled eggs
bunch of spring onions
6 anchovy fillets
1 lemon (fresh or preserved)
2 oz French beans – blanched and refreshed
Additional garnish ingredients
Barberries were originally used, redcurrants could be substituted
Nasturtiums or other edible flowers (e.g. borage, marigold)
Herbs (flat leaf parsley, tarragon, chervil)
3 hard-boiled eggs
salt and cayenne pepper
1 tsp dry English mustard powder
1 tsp tarragon vinegar
5 fl oz whipping cream
½ tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
This is very much an “arranged” salad.
Choose a large, pretty serving platter and arrange the quartered lettuces on it with a small dish in the centre.
Slice the breast meat of the chicken and dice the leg meat more finely. Arrange over the lettuce. Decorate with strips of anchovy.
If using preserved lemon it is the skin that you want, dice it and scatter over the plate. If using fresh lemon dice the flesh only.
There are a number of different approaches that can be used for the hard-boiled eggs. You could simply slice them and arrange the slices on the plate. Many original recipes mixed the yolks with anchovy and perhaps a little finely chopped parsley. This was then mounded into the dish in the centre. The chopped whites were then scattered over the rest of the plate. The dressing, which also contains hard-boiled egg yolks, is served separately, so could be put in the central dish if you are not filling it with an egg yolk/anchovy mixture.
Finally add the blanched and refreshed green beans and other garnish ingredients.
To make the dressing, pass the hard-boiled egg yolks through a fine sieve and then blend them with the salt, cayenne pepper and mustard powder. Mix in a teaspoon of tarragon vinegar and then whisk in the whipping cream. Stir in chopped fresh tarragon at the end.
Solomon Grundy, born on a Monday,
Christened on a stark and stormy Tuesday,
Married on a grey and grisly Wednesday
Took ill on a mild and mellow Thursday
Grew worse on a bright and breezy Friday
Died on a gay and glorious Saturday
Buried on a baking, blistering Sunday
That was the end of Solomon Grundy
James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps 1842
Born on a Monday,
Christened on Tuesday
Married on Wednesday,
Took ill on Thursday,
Grew worse on Friday,
Died on Saturday,
Buried on Sunday.
That was the end of
Homemade Salad Cream
1 oz flour
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
4 tsps dry mustard
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sugar
1 pint milk
¼ pint cider vinegar
Mix the mustard, flour and seasonings to a smooth cream with a little of the milk in a basin set over a saucepan of boiling water. Gradually add the rest of the milk, the lightly beaten eggs and the vinegar, stirring all the time so that the mixture is perfectly smooth. As it begins to thicken, add the oil, still stirring constantly. When it will coat the back of a spoon, remove it from the heat and cool, stirring occasionally, before pouring into sterilized screw-top jars or bottles.
Spinach and Goat’s Cheese Salad with Hazelnuts and Honey Dressing
200 g baby spinach leaves
50 g rocket leaves
8 semi-dried tomatoes
Fresh goat’s cheese (or other young cheese)
For the dressing:
2 tbsps lemon juice
Salt and pepper
1 -2 tsps clear honey
6 tbsps olive oil
Toast the hazelnuts in a dry pan then chop them roughly.
Put the dressing ingredients into a small jar and shake vigorously to combine. The sweetness of the dressing counterbalances the saltiness of the sun dried tomatoes and cheese, but a fresh goats cheese is less salty than an aged cheese and likewise semi-dried tomatoes less salty than completely dried – adjust the honey and lemon according to the other ingredients.
Roughly chop the tomatoes and mix these through the salad leaves. Add the dressing and hazelnuts immediately before serving to keep everything fresh and the hazelnuts crunchy. Crumble the goats cheese over the salad.
For notes on the art of composing a salad see article.