This salad is one I adapted from Robert May’s The Accomplisht Cook (1685) and John Evelyn’s Acetaria: A Discourse of Sallets (1699), both of which I read when growing my vegetable garden in Massachusetts in 1970. When I started as chef of Chez Panisse, I could not wait to start a garden and put these books to use in making these wonderful compound salads, as modern today as they were three hundred years ago.
Evelyn was especially inspirational, using flowers, flower buds, and all kinds of citrus in salad dressing and garnishing. I have omitted samphire (though in my college days, I used to collect it in Maine and cook with it), broom buds, pickled oysters, and “blue-fits” (whatever they are), as well as the roast capon. But by all means add sliced-up capon or any other chopped roast meat.
This is not a small salad and easily serves eight people. All the lettuces are washed in cold water and as Evelyn directs, “spin-dried” in a towel.