Everything in the make-up of a salad should be of the freshest material, the vegetables crisp and fresh, the oil or butter the very best, meats, fowl and fish well cooked, pure cider or white wine vinegar - in fact, every ingredient first class, to insure success.
The vegetables used in salad are: Beet-root, onions, potatoes, cabbage, lettuce, celery, cucumbers, lentils, haricots, winter cress, peas, French beans, radish, cauliflower - all these may be used judiciously in salad, if properly seasoned, according to the following directions.
Chervil is a delicious salad herb, invariably found in all salads prepared by a French gourmet. No man can be a true epicure who is unfamiliar with this excellent herb. It may be procured from the vegetable stands at Fulton and Washington markets the year round.
Its leaves resemble parsley, but are more divided, and a few of them added to a breakfast salad give a delightful flavor.
A few drops of this vinegar added to fish sauces or salads is excellent, and well repays the little trouble taken in its preparation. Half fill a bottle with fresh or dry chervil leaves; fill the bottle with good vinegar and heat it gently by placing it in warm water, which bring to boiling point; remove from the fire; when cool cork, and in two weeks it will be ready for use.
Put the yolks of four fresh raw eggs, with two hard-boiled ones, into a cold bowl. Rub these as smooth as possible before introducing the oil; a good measure of oil is a tablespoonful to each yolk of raw egg. All the art consists in introducing the oil by degrees, a few drops at a time. You can never make a good salad without taking plenty of time. When the oil is well mixed, and assumes the appearance of jelly, put in two heaping teaspoonfuls of dry table salt, one of pepper and one of made mustard. Never put in salt and pepper before this stage of the process, because the salt and pepper would coagulate the albumen of the eggs, and you could not get the dressing smooth. Two tablespoonfuls of vinegar added gradually.
The Mayonnaise should be the thickness of thick cream when finished, but if it looks like curdling when mixing it, set in the ice-box or in a cold place for about forty minutes or an hour, then mix it again. It is a good idea to place it in a pan of cracked ice while mixing.
For lobster salad, use the coral, mashed and pressed through a sieve, then add to the above.
Salad dressing should be kept in a separate bowl in a cold place, and not mixed with the salad until the moment it is to be served, or it may lose its crispness and freshness.
Beat up two eggs with two tablespoonfuls of sugar, add a piece of butter the size of half an egg, a teaspoonful of mustard, a little pepper, and lastly a teacup of vinegar. Put all of these ingredients into a dish over the fire and cook like a soft custard. Some think it improved by adding half a cupful of thick sweet cream to this dressing; in that case use less vinegar. Either way is very fine.
One cup fresh cream, one spoonful fine flour, the whites of two eggs beaten stiff, three spoonfuls of vinegar, two spoonfuls of salad oil or soft butter, two spoonfuls of powdered sugar, one teaspoonful salt, one-half teaspoonful pepper, one teaspoonful of made mustard. Heat cream almost to boiling; stir in the flour, previously wet with cold milk; boil two minutes, stirring all the time; add sugar and take from fire. When half cold, beat in whipped whites of egg; set aside to cool. When quite cold, whip in the oil or butter, pepper, mustard and salt; if the salad is ready, add vinegar and pour at once over it.
Two tablespoonfuls of whipped sweet cream, two of sugar and four of vinegar; beat well and pour over the cabbage, previously cut very fine and seasoned with salt.
Mix one saltspoon of pepper with one of salt; add three table-spoonfuls of olive oil and one even tablespoonful of onion scraped fine; then one tablespoonful of vinegar; when well mixed, pour the mixture over your salad and stir all till well mingled.
The merit of a salad is that it should be cool, fresh and crisp. For vegetables use only the delicate white stalks of celery, the small heart-leaves of lettuce, or tenderest stalks and leaves of the white cabbage. Keep the vegetable portion crisp and fresh until the time for serving, when add the meat. For chicken and fish salads use the "Mayonnaise dressing." For simple vegetable salads the French dressing is most appropriate, using onion rather than garlic.