Salad making is a very important branch in the preparation of food, since the salad materials require careful handling to insure success. Very pleasing and hygienic dishes may be prepared from uncooked fruits and vegetables, thus giving the system the benefit of the fruit and vegetable acids, as well as furnishing a pleasing variety.
Salads have their place in using up left overs, as some of the most delicious dishes are the result of a wise mingling of various edibles in salads. In order to become proficient in salad making, one must make a careful study of relative flavors, and the manner of handling salad materials, that their natural flavors may be retained and the mass preserve an attractive appearance.
Bits of cold fish may be combined properly with hard-boiled eggs, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, or cress. Any of these are admirably adapted to the purpose. Celery and fish are inharmonious in flavor and should not be used together. A suitable garnish adds much to the attractiveness of a salad, but nothing should be used for the purpose which cannot be eaten with the salad without disguising the delicacy of the flavor, or detracting from it. A salad should always be appetizing, refreshing, and attractive.
In the preparation of salads, care should be taken to preserve the natural flavor of the edibles mingled together in the salad, and they should be selected with special reference to the effect each will have upon the other. Care should be exercised also to have the dressing such as is best suited to the peculiar flavor and condition of that salad. For example, cabbage belongs to the mustard family, hence a dressing for cabbage salad requires no mustard. A very little onion used in the dressing for tomato salad will give a pleasing result. Lettuce, being very delicate in flavor, requires no other addition to the dressing prepared for it than salt and pepper.
Salads may be appropriately divided into three classes. Let us first examine fruit salads. Many fruits are frequently served at dinners as salads. Those most commonly so used, perhaps, being strawberries, currants and oranges. A great variety of salads may be prepared by mixing the different fruits, but when this is done, one fruit should be chosen with special reference to giving flavor, and the rest mainly for bulk. Pineapple, Malaga grapes, and oranges make a pleasant combination. The strawberry seems sufficient within itself, and will form a salad which will tickle the palate and make the mouth water, with no other dressing save a little powdered sugar into which it is dipped just previous to being eaten.
As a second class, we have vegetable salads.
In a third class may be placed mixed salads. Chicken salad is a good example of this variety of salad.
Use just enough of the following mixture to moisten, or moisten with salad dressing, season in the same way, and let stand one hour. To make the marinating liquid, mix in the proportion of three tablespoonfuls of vinegar and one of olive oil. Season with salt until the salt is barely perceptible, then put in a little pepper. Stir up well, and pour over the diced meat or chicken. Let stand in the refrigerator one hour or more, then drain. The object is to flavor the meat a little, that the inside may not escape flavor after the salad is mixed. When a salad dressing is used instead of the marinating liquid, it must be thinned with vinegar - at least one-fourth - and a little oil added, and the mixture seasoned nicely.