Nearly all the meats, vegetables, and fruits may be served as salads. The essential thing is to have the salad fresh and cold; and if green, to have the leaves crisp and dry. If any water is left on leaves, the dressing will not adhere to them, but will run to the bottom of the dish, and both the salad and the dressing will be poor. All greens should be carefully washed in cold water to free them from dust and insects, and to make them crisp. After they have stood fifteen to twenty minutes in cold or ice water, free them from moisture by swinging them in a wire basket, or dry, without bruising, each leaf carefully with a napkin. The dressing is added only at the moment of serving, as the salad wilts if allowed to stand after the dressing is added. The green salads are the most simple of any, and are especially worthy the little care required to make them perfect.
Meat of any kind used for salads should be cut into dice, but not smaller than one half inch, or it will seem like hash. It should be marinated before being mixed with the other parts of the salad. Meat mixtures are usually piled in cone-shape on a dish, the Mayonnaise then spread over it, and garnished with lettuce, capers, hard-boiled eggs, gherkins, etc.
Take one part of oil and three of vinegar, with pepper and salt to taste; stir them into the meat, and let it stand a couple of hours; drain off any of the marinade which has not been absorbed, before combining the meat with the other parts of the salad. Use only enough marinade to season the meat.
Lettuce, water-cress, fetticus, sorrel, or other leaf salads are better with French dressing. A boiled fish can be served whole as a salad for suppers or luncheons, or in hot weather as a fish course for dinner. It may be covered, all but the head and tail, with a thick coating of green or red jelly Mayonnaise (see page 290), and elaborately decorated with capers, olives, gherkins, hard-boiled eggs, and lettuce. Salmon, blue fish, bass, or any firm fish, serves this purpose. Fish may also be cut into cutlets of equal size and shape, and covered with jelly Mayonnaise garnished in the same way.
Nasturtium blossoms make a good garnish, and also add a good flavor to green salads.
The receipts for Mayonnaise are given on pages 288-290. White Mayonnaise, instead of that having the color of the eggs, is the fancy of to-day. The yolks will whiten by being stirred before the oil is added, and lemon-juice, used instead of vinegar, also serves to whiten the dressing; so it is not always necessary to add whipped cream, although the cream gives a very delicate and delicious Mayonnaise. The jelly Mayonnaise is used for molded salads, and will be found very good, as well as useful, for the class of salads served at suppers, etc.