Thursday, July 20, 2017

Art and Science of Salad Making



  • 2 egg yolks 
  • fresh mustard sauce
  • 4 tblsp oil
  • 1 1/2 tblsp vinegar 
  • chervil and tarragon (a few leaves most likely) 
  • lettuce 



  1. Mix oil and vinegar into a cream. 


  1. Rub with a fork the yolks of two eggs, boiled hard, and cold, with fresh mustard and a little sauce
  2. Chop fine chervil, tarragon, and use with lettuce. 
  3. The sauce should be kept separate until needed.Ingredients 


No careless hand can make a perfect salad. To be sure, Nanette, the cook, who tosses in this, adds a sprinkling of that and pours in oil and vinegar with seeming abandon, sends to the table preparations fit for the gods, But Nanette, in her line, is an artist who has acquired the simple stroke that produces the masterpiece. Occasionally there arises a genius in lay ranks who snaps her finger at experience and arrives at Nanette’s degree of skill by inspiration. But geniuses are few.

Herbs, Vinegar, and Oil

In no other dish is there so wide range for individuality of treatment as in the salad. No single process in its preparation is unimportant. The meats and vegetables must not be too coarse nor too fine. In making them ready the chopping knife and meat grinder must have no part. Only the crispest, freshest vegetables should enter into its composition. Much depends upon the quality of the vinegar and oil. Sharp vinegar is to be avoided. If that on hand is too sour weaken it with a little water. A little lemon juice may be used if greater acidity is wanted. A ready supply of herb vinegars, such as tarragon, nasturtium (Tropaeolum), chervil, celery and mint, add greatly to the possibilities in flavoring. The wise salad maker has at her finger tips a knowledge of the adaptability of the different vinegars, flavors and foundation materials. The tarragon flavor, for instance, is delicious with meats and fish. The nasturtium, most persons think, lends itself best to vegetables. Mint vinegar has its votaries, but many people object to its flavor, excepting with lamb, chicken and certain green salads. Celery vinegar combines well with nearly all salads.

Chopped parsley, chervil, sheep sorrel, nasturtiums (leaves, flowers and stems), and other herbs chopped fine and sprinkled over the salad or incorporated with the dressing, ring delightful changes. At a certain farmhouse this summer tender wintergreen leaves from the woods, used moderately in various salads, puzzled the guests with their delicate fragrance.


Garlic, at which too many persons shudder, because of malodorous memories, lacks the respect in this country that its character merits. Used properly, garlic is more delicate and delicious in flavor than onion. It is the misuse of the vegetable that has gained for it its undeserved notoriety. The French know to a T its worth. A single clove of garlic, or two at the most, are enough for a large mixture.

Obtaining the flavor

  1. Rub the bowl in which the salad is dressed or the dish in which the dressing is made with a halved clove of garlic. 

OR It is still better, some think, to:
  1. Saturate a piece of bread with its odor 
  2. Use the bread, transfixed with a fork, to wipe the dish. 

  1. Chop a clove or two of garlic to infinitesimal fineness
  2. Mix it with the other ingredients


If onion is used, it is always preferable to employ the juice and not the pulp. By some cooks the onion is grated, but even this method leaves tangible evidences of the most odorous of vegetables to catch in the teeth and retain the flavor in the mouth. To some persons, onions are hurtful, but they are seldom injured by the juice.

Obtaining Onion Juice

  1. Cut the onion in two
  2. Hold it on a fork over the mixture
  3. Press the cut side with the back of a silver knife or spoon until the juice drops

Artichokes and Seafood 

With such materials as lobsters, crabs, shrimps, Jerusalem artichokes, etc., which are liked for their individual flavors, it is a mistake to use flavored vinegars, onions or garlic. Such pungent additions are for accompaniments of neutral hue, which need embellishment. With all salad preparations, except with the sweet kind, of course, capers and chopped olives and pickles in right proportion may always be used.

Blending Flavors

To blend the various flavors so that no one will be overshadowed by another is the acme of the salad maker’s effort. Cold cooked vegetables, such as potatoes, beets, carrots, string beans, celery knobs, etc., will not absorb the dressing and its flavors. To obtain the best results most cooked vegetables should be covered with a French dressing while they are hot and should be left to cool in it. When they are cold they should be thoroughly drained. Then they may be dressed with mayonnaise, French or boiled dressing, as preferred. German cooks marinate hot cabbage in this way for a cabbage salad. With the marinate may be placed an onion or two, sliced; some celery, parsley, chervil or other herb. The French dressing may be made with any preferred vinegar.


Utensils, ingredients and everything pertaining to the work should be chilled at the start. The lettuce, cress or other green, as well as any raw vegetable, such as celery or radishes, should stand in ice-water for an hour before they are wanted. Great care should be taken, however, when they come from the bath to dry them thoroughly. Drops of water will carry with them to the bottom of the dish an oily liquid that will detract greatly from the dainty appearance of the salad. In order to dry the vegetables drain and shake them in a colander, and then toss them about in a large, dry towel.

Mixing Ingredients  

Stirring the ingredients together is the unpardonable sin of the art. By that means are produced the strange concoctions which are miscalled “salads.” A light tossing with a fork in each hand will properly distribute the elements and seasonings and leave a light, crisp mixture.

Types of Salads

Salads are practically of two classes — light and heavy — the former suited to dinners, and both to luncheons and suppers. No one would think, of course, of introducing lobster or chicken salad among the courses of a heavy dinner. Such a dish is calculated to appear as the piece de resistance of a meal.


The appearance of the salad is not the least important factor in its preparation. Vegetables that clash in color, like beets, carrots and tomatoes, should never be mingled. The hue of the mayonnaise, or cooked dressing, may be varied by different devices. For green, spinach juice can be used, or a mixture of herbs, such as lettuce, cress, chives, chervil and parsley, may be crushed together until their juices are expressed. The addition of this liquid to mayonnaise converts it into Ravigote sauce. The powdered coral of the lobster, softened with lemon juice, produces an attractive red. For other shades of red, tomato puree or beet juice may be employed. Yolk of egg will serve for yellow.


Vegetable and fruit cups afford no end of variations. Celery knobs boiled until they are tender, cut in two and scooped into cups are delicious filled with a macedoine of vegetables. A slice is usually taken from the bottom of each to enable it to stand. The vegetables are first marinated, then drained, filled into the cups and topped off with a spoonful of mayonnaise. The white cups arranged on a bed of green cress or lettuce produce a charming effect. For meat, fish or other mixtures the work of the server will be greatly enhanced if the lettuce is first arranged in little nests in the dish and they are filled with the preparation. These nests may be easily lifted with the fork and spoon from the dish to the individual plate. Put the stem ends of three or four tender, curled leaves together, lapping them over each other enough to make a substantial receptacle. Hollowed out cucumbers, beets, tomatoes, green and red peppers and apples may all do duty as cups


A solid, prettily shaped cabbage with the centre cut out makes an ornamental bowl for cabbage salad. The cabbage should stand on a bed of curly parsley or other green. Ribbons of red peppers may edge the platter. The salad should be heaped in the cabbage. It may be garnished simply with stuffed olives and tiny gherkins.

Sweet Peppers

Sweet peppers are too little known, although they are gaining in popularity with Americans. With many vegetables they are very delicious. 
  1. Thoroughly remove the seeds and white inner pulp (these are the parts that bite)
  2. Cut the peppers into small strips or dice. 
The peppers may be used in salads of cabbage, mixed vegetables of potatoes, beets, beans, etc.; tomatoes and various other mixtures.

Salad Dressings 

Salad dressings are practically three — mayonnaise, French and cooked dressing. Whipped cream is an improvement in most cases to the mayonnaise and boiled kinds. It should be added just before the dressing is used.


In the summer the bowl in which mayonnaise is made should stand in ice while the process is going on. The old time-devouring way by dropping the oil with one hand and stirring with the other has happily been obviated by various oil dropping inventions which have reduced the work to a minimum. The housekeeper is often puzzled to know what to do if the quantity of mayonnaise needed is too much for one raw yolk and not sufficient for two. By mashing a hard cooked yolk with the raw yolk the problem will be settled. The process of making is the same as if both yolks had been uncooked.
  1. Season with salt and white pepper and mustard if it is wanted
  2. Drop the oil slowly while the beating continues rapidly.
  3.  Add drops of vinegar or lemon juice from time to time as the eggs begin to thicken 

French Dressing

For French dressing four spoonfuls of oil to one of vinegar instead of the usual three to one formula is liked best by most persons. In the making of French dressing the old saying, “A spendthrift for oil, a miser for vinegar and a madman to stir,” is an infallible guide.
  1. Place the oil, vinegar, seasonings and salad before the one upon whom that office falls if this dressing is made at the table  
  2. Make a layer of the salad after the dressing is made 
  3. Sprinkle dressing over this and thoroughly incorporate it
  4. Add another layer and so on until all the salad is dressed

Cooked Dressing

Cooked dressing may be made and kept for such emergencies as the cook’s day out, unexpected company, etc. To make such a dressing:
  1. Put the yolks of four eggs into the upper part of a double boiler and beat them thoroughly.
  2. Add four tablespoonfuls of oil, stirring constantly
  3. Incorporate four tablespoonfuls of vinegar
  4. Set the dish into hot water over the fire and cook
  5. When the mixture begins to thicken remove it at once from the fire and beat until it is cold
  6. Add slowly four more tablespoonfuls of oil, one tablespoonful of sugar, a teaspoonful of salt and one or two tablespoonfuls of French mustard
  7. Just before using it add one cupful of whipped cream.

Tomato and Aspic Jelly

Tomato and aspic jelly both make delightful accompaniment for salads. The jelly may be molded in a ring and the salad served in the centre; it may be molded in a solid form and the salad arranged around it, or it may be broken into sparkling cubes and heaped about the salad.

To make aspic jelly:

  1. Soak two ounces of jelly in a cupful of cold water for fifteen minutes. 
  2. Then add it to one quart of clear meat stock or one quart of water tinctured with beef extract. 
  3. Flavor with white vinegar and lemon juice until it is properly tart. 
  4. Put in a couple of blades of mace, some cloves and a bay leaf and stir over the fire until the gelatine is dissolved. 
  5. To the beaten whites of two eggs add a little cold water and the juice of a lemon. 
  6. Stir them into the jelly and stir and boil for a minute or two. An egg beater is convenient to use in beating the eggs into the jelly. 
  7. Draw the saucepan to a cool part of the stove and let it stand five or ten minutes. 
  8. Then strain the jelly through a jelly bag. 
To color the jelly, the devices mentioned for mayonnaise may be employed.

Tomato Jelly

Tomato jelly requires a can of tomatoes, an ounce of gelatine and seasonings.
  1. Soak the gelatine in one-half cupful of cold water for half an hour. 
  2. Meanwhile cook the tomatoes with three tablespoonfuls of vinegar, a teaspoonful of salt, a tablespoonful of sugar and a dash of paprika. 
  3. Then add the gelatine to the tomatoes and stir until it is dissolved. 
  4. Strain the jelly through a jelly bag and mold.
The tomato jelly may be served on a bed of lettuce with a mayonnaise, as has already been suggested.

Apple Cups

Apple cups may be filled with a salad of mushrooms (cooked), stuffed olives (sliced), nuts and a few delicate tips of celery. Moisten the mixture with French dressing and top off with mayonnaise and whipped cream. This salad may be served with lettuce instead of in apples.

Shredded red pepper, stoned olives and cabbage make a delicious combination

Prepared by Devon Dollahon
July 20, 2017

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