A little lighter fare is on tap for today’s Tasty Tuesday recipe adaptation. Have you heard of Salmagundi? According to Dictionary.com, it is defined as “a mixed dish consisting usually of cubed poultry or fish, chopped meat, anchovies, eggs, onions, oil, etc., often served as a salad.” This is a recipe I’ve made out of Our Founding Foods by Jane Tennant, but her recipe was different from Hannah Glasse’s. Let’s start with Hannah’s take on this dish, and then I’ll talk about two other versions that I consulted before putting my own Salmagundi together.
To make Salmagundy
Mince two chickens, either boiled or roasted, very fine, or veal, if you please: also mince the yolks of hard eggs very small, and mince the whites very small by themselves; shred the pulp of two or three lemons very small, then lay in your dish a layer of mincemeat, and a layer of yolks of eggs, a layer of whites, a layer of anchovies, a layer of your shred lemon pulp, a layer of pickles, a layer of sorrel, a layer of spinach, and shallots shred small. When you have filled a dish with the ingredients, set an orange or lemon on the top; then garnish with horse-radish scraped, barberries, and sliced lemon. Beat up some oil with the juice of lemon, salt, and mustard, thick, and serve it up for a second course, side dish, or middle-dish, for supper.
Analyzing Hannah’s ingredients, I nixed several of her ideas since I didn’t think it would be pleasing to our taste buds. I didn’t use any lemons, for instance, though I did use a navel orange which added a delightful pop of citrus to the final dish.
Also, since I was making only enough for the two of us, I reduced the amount of chicken drastically. One chicken breast, to be exact. I figured that with the protein from the eggs would be adequate.
I also didn’t use anchovies, onions, or try to find sorrel. Instead, I used some tossed salad mix (iceberg lettuce, carrots, cabbage, etc.) and fresh spinach as my greens. Again this is based on our preferences. The fun thing about this dish is that it’s so adaptable!
Barberries sounded like something I’d like to try, but I didn’t have time to hunt them down. Instead, I used dried cranberries which added the tart taste that barberries are purported to have.
But what other options are there, you may be asking?
Jane Tennant’s book (which I’ve made several recipes out of, by the way) includes a recipe adapted from Mary Randolph’s The Virginia Housewife, 1824. The list of ingredients included lettuce leaves, green beans (cooked), cherry tomatoes, chicken, fresh green grapes, an orange, eggs, toasted almonds, raisins, anchovy fillets, radishes, spring onions, and gherkin pickles. The dressing is a blend of orange juice, orange zest, olive, oil, red wine vinegar, mustard, and salt and pepper. If you’d like the recipe, let me know and I’ll be happy to share it. I made this to take to a potluck luncheon at my Heart of Dixie chapter meeting one year. It’s good but rather complicated to put together and of course, it makes a lot of food!
I also checked what Virginia Elverson and Mary Ann McLanahan had to suggest in Revolutionary Cooking. They simply gave a list of possible ingredients and how to layer them. Here’s a snippet of what they had to say:
Arrange dishes of cold cooked vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, kidney beans, etc., which have been marinated in French dressing; other dishes of sliced sweet onions, sliced cucumbers, halved cherry tomatoes, thin-sliced celery, sliced radishes, chopped hard-cooked eggs, anchovies, croutons, Parmesan cheese, and a large bowl of lettuces.
Then they suggest letting each person build their own salad and top it with any kind of dressing you have available, and serve it with “cold sliced meats, herring, smoked salmon, lobster tails or crab claws.” They’re getting rather fancy, aren’t they? But they had some good ideas. Again, they’re apparently preparing a feast for a gathering. I, on the other hand, was simply trying to make dinner for me and my husband.
I chose a glass bowl that I estimated would hold enough salad for the two of us, maybe with a little leftover. But it wouldn’t be by much. Then I layered ingredients in quantities that I thought we’d manage for one meal.
Betty’s Salmagundi for 2
1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 T Italian dressing
2 eggs, hard-boiled and chopped
2 cups salad mix
1 cup fresh spinach leaves
¼ cup shredded cheese
1 navel orange, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
¼ cup dried cranberries
2 Roma tomatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
½ cucumber, chopped
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Place the chicken into a shallow pan. Pour Italian dressing to coat and then cover the pan before putting into the oven for 40 minutes or until cooked through and tender. Let cool before cutting into bite-sized pieces.
In a bowl, layer the salad, spinach, chicken, and the remaining ingredients.
Serve as is, with dressings on the side, or drizzle Italian dressing over the salad before serving.
Of course, if you have leftover cold meats, say after your Thanksgiving dinner, then this could be a great way to use up some of them. We particularly enjoyed the orange mixed into the salad. I think I might try it with marinated artichoke hearts next time, to add a bit more bite to the combination.
This recipe is more of a concept and subject to variation each time I make it. I like that it’s scalable, too. It’s a refreshing contribution to a pitch-in dinner, as well. What do you think? Will you be trying your own Salmagundi? I hope so! Enjoy!
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