Salamagundy

A traditional salad dish for which there are recipes dating from as early as the fifteenth century from several parts of England. It was often served in London where the vegetables could be bought at Covent Garden. This recipe is from Hampshire. It was intended as a centrepiece on the supper table or for the second course of a dinner. It was always set out on a very large dish or platter with a small raised dish in the middle. Either a small plate was placed on an inverted bowl or a cakestand was used. Sometimes a larger bowl was inverted and covered with rings of ingredients with an ornament made of butter, or a sprig or two of parsley with two or three primroses, nasturtiums, violets or marigold buds (all considered edible) stuck in the top layer. The ingredients on the flat platter were either arranged in rings or in small saucers around the raised centre and the spaces in between were filled up with parsley. Any ingredients can be omitted, or others, such as beetroot, celery or cooked peas added, but seven or eight are needed. A Salamagundy is excellent for a summer lunch.

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Ingredients

  • 1 Webb’s lettuce, outer leaves removed, chopped very fine
  • 6 hard-boiled eggs, yolks and whites chopped separately
  • 6 oz (180 g) cold cooked chicken, finely chopped
  • 6 oz (180 g) cold cooked tongue or ham or both, cut in matchstick strips
  • 12 sprigs of parsley
  • 6 small onions, or shallots, finely chopped
  • 12 anchovy fillets, well drained and each cut in 4 pieces
  • 2 cucumbers, peeled and diced
  • 6 tomatoes, blanched and quartered, pips and juice removed, and the pieces cut through again
  • Salad dressing

Method

If using an inverted bowl, cover it first with chopped lettuce and then build rings of the other ingredients over it. Arrange all the ingredients separately on the large dish and decorate with the curled parsley, stuck in here and there. Make the outside ring of chopped lettuce. Arrange the anchovy fillets on the ring of chopped egg whites. Serve the salad dressing separately.

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