Ingredients: One table-spoonful of vinegar, three table-spoonfuls of olive-oil, one salt-spoonful of pepper, one salt-spoonful of salt, one even tea-spoonful of onion scraped fine. Many use tarragon vinegar, i. e., vinegar in which tarragon has been soaked.
Pour the oil, mixed with the pepper and salt, over the salad; mix them together; then add the vinegar and mix again. Chap-tal says: "It results, from this process, that there can never be too much vinegar: from the specific gravity of the vinegar compared with the oil, what is more than needful will fall to the bottom of the salad-bowl. The salt should not be dissolved in the vinegar, but in the oil, by which means it is more equally distributed through the salad."
This is the usual mode of mixing the salad; but I prefer to mix the pepper and salt, then add the oil and onion, and then the vinegar; and, when well mingled, to pour the mixture over the salad, or place the salad over it, and mix all together. It seems to me to be more evenly distributed in this manner.
Many different combinations can be made to suit the fancy, from the list of salad materials. I will give certain combinations oftenest seen. It must be remembered that salad is never good unless perfectly fresh. It should not be mixed, or brought into the dining-room, until the moment when it is to be eaten.
When preparing lettuce salad, choose the crisp, tender, centre leaves of head lettuce. The kind seen in England and France called romaine, is now much used in New York; it is very crisp and tender. The seeds of this lettuce can be obtained in New York. In the East, tarragon, and endive also, are largely produced, and used to imitate these foreign salads. The tarragon leaves are chopped fine, and mixed in the French dressing (without onion) to use with lettuce. The taste for tarragon is generally an acquired one: I prefer the tarragon vinegar to the fresh leaves, as it has only a slight flavor of the plant.