English Salads


The herbs and vegetables for a salad cannot be too freshly gathered; they should be carefully cleared from insects and washed with scrupulous nicety; they are better when not prepared until near the time of sending them to table, and should not be sauced until the instant before they are served. Tender lettuces, of which the stems should be cut off, and the outer leaves be stripped away, mustard and cress, young radishes, and occasionally chives or small green onions (when the taste of a party is in favour of these last) are the usual ingredients of summer salads. (In early spring, as we have stated in another chapter, the young white leaves of the dandelion will supply a very wholesome and excellent salad, of which the slight bitterness is to many persons as agreeable as that of the endive.) Half-grown cucumbers sliced thin, and mixed with them, are a favourite addition with many persons. In England it is customary to cut the lettuces extremely fine; the French, who object to the flavour of the knife, which they fancy this mode imparts, break them small instead. Young celery alone, sliced and dressed with a rich salad mixture, is excellent: it is still in some families served thus always with roost pheasants.

Beet-root, baked or boiled, blanched endive, small salad-herbs which are easily raised at any time of the year, celery, and hardy lettuces, with any ready-dressed vegetable, will supply salads through the winter. Cucumber vinegar is an agreeable addition to these.