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 outer leaves should 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. 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 (see page 103) is excellent: it is still in some families served thus always with roast 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.
In winter this is made principally of beautifully-blanched endive, washed delicately clean and broken into small branches with the fingers, then taken from the water and shaken dry in a basket kept for the purpose, or in a fine cloth; then arranged in the salad-bowl, and strewed with herbs (tarragon generally, when in season) minced small: the dressing is not added until just before the salad is eaten. In summer, young lettuces are substituted for the endive, and intermixed with a variety of herbs, some of which are not generally cultivated in England.
Fill a salad-bowl from half to three parts full with very tender lettuces shred small, minced lean of ham, and hard-boiled eggs, or their yolks only, also minced, placed in alternate layers; dress the mixture with English salad-sauce, but do not pour it into the bowl until the instant of serving. A portion of cold chicken, cut in thin slices about the size of a shilling, may be added when convenient.
Mix treacle and vinegar, in the proportion of one tablespoonful of the first to two of the latter; add a little black pepper, and eat the sauce with lettuces shred small (with an intermixture of young onions when they are liked.) This, though certainly not a very refined order of salad, is scarcely so unpalatable as such ingredients would seem to promise.