Mrs Glasse’s Salamongundy

The name became shortened to Salamagundy in later recipes. The dish, which was really a delicious salad elaborately laid out, was intended to form a centrepiece for the supper table. It was always set out on a large flat dish with the separate ingredients all minced or shredded very small in rings of contrasting colours. Sometimes a bowl or large cup was inverted in the middle of the dish and the rings of ingredients built up over this with an ornament made of butter, a sprig of parsley, or some edible flowers, stuck on top. An acceptable alternative was to lay out the ingredients in little heaps or in separate small saucers on the large dish, the centre one being slightly raised. Mrs Glasse emphasizes that ‘you may always make Salamongundy of such things as you have, according to your fancy’. The great dish which Soyer invented for the generals of both sides of the Crimean War to celebrate the peace, and which he surmounted with an ornamental label reading ‘Soyer’s Culinary Emblem of peace. ..’, was in fact a form of Salamongundy, and in it he had to use everything he could get hold of in the Crimea or get sent out in time for the dinner.

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Ingredients

Mrs Glasse’s Recipe, 1747

  • 1 cold roast chicken
  • 1 crisp lettuceWebb’s or Iceberg are splendid
  • 18 anchovy fillets
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
  • 12–18 small white onions, tinned or frozen
  • French dressing
  • ¼ lb. (120 g.) white grapes, skinned and pipped or ¼ lb. (120 g.) whole cooked french beans
  • 1 lemon

Method

Carve the chicken and cut all the white meat into very thin strips about 3 inches ( cm.) long and ¼ inch (½ cm.) wide. Cut all the dark meat into dice. Peel the lemon and chop it very small, removing all pith and pips. Mash the yolks of the hard-boiled eggs and chop four anchovies. Wash and shred the lettuce very finely, Mrs Glasse says ‘as fine as a good, big thread’. Spread it, about ½ inch thick, all over the dish. Mix the chopped chicken meat, the chopped lemon, the parsley, the egg yolk and the chopped anchovies all together, and pile in a sugar-loaf shape in the middle of the dish. Decorate with a white onion on top. Lay a circle of the white chicken slivers all round the edge of the dish, leaving spaces between, in each of which put an anchovy fillet cut in half. Inside these, nearer to the central pile, put a ring of the whites of the eggs, finely chopped. Then put another ring of chicken slices if you have them, this time without anchovies. Put the white onions evenly spaced round the rim of the dish. Pour French dressing over all and decorate with the skinned grapes or with the french beans.

A variation

  • minced cooked veal or chicken
  • duck or pigeon, cooked and chopped small
  • fillets of pickled herring, chopped small
  • cucumber, chopped small
  • apples, peeled and chopped small
  • onions, peeled and chopped small
  • chopped parsley
  • chopped celery
  • hard-boiled eggs, yolks and whites chopped separately

Use the minced veal or chicken, mixed with the cucumber and onion and well seasoned, for the central pile.

Decorate with pickles, slices of lemon ‘nicely cut’, and if possible with nasturtium flowers.

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