An excellent dish for any cold collation

I’m loving my salads – I made a nine green salad the other day – lettuce, spinach, celery, spring onions, leeks, celery, courgette, cucumber, salad cress – as it’s now called as opposed to just ‘cress’ (I can’t imagine what on earth else you would use it for!) – so I was looking in one of my old cookery books to see how people enjoyed salads in the past. I was looking at Mrs A. B. Marshall’s Cookery book, published in the 1880’s and came across ‘Salad á l’Adeline (Salade á l’Adeline)’. Despite the fact that forty years before Eliza Acton had begun to write recipes which included lists of ingredients, it surprises me that Agnes Bertha Marshall wrote her recipes as little essays… however, it is rather charming:

Salad á l’Adeline
(Salade á l’Adeline)

Cut some celery in lengths of about an inch, and then into fine shreds, keep it in water until perfectly crisp; then have some peeled cucumbers, radishes and tomatoes cut in the same way, and put some picked leaves of tarragon and chervil in cold water till wanted for use. Have some salsifies, when in season, or cooked artichoke bottoms cleaned and cut in lengths about an inch, and cook until tender, then put to drain on a sieve, and when ready to use mix with a little salad oil and tarragon vinegar; pile them in the centre of a silver dish, and then arrange the other vegetables seasoned similarly to the salsifies round so as to form a border; pour an iced tomato mayonnaise round the base of the salad, and sprinkle over with the picked tarragon and chervil, a little chopped eschalot and coralline pepper, This is an excellent dish either for lunches or second course, or any cold collation.
Tomato Mayonnaise – Mix together one large tablespoonful of tomato sauce, one large tablespoonful of Mayonnaise sauce, a few drops of Marshall’s carmine, and a dust of coralline pepper, and rather better than quarter of a pint of aspic jelly; tammy and use.

This is interesting in so many ways – salsifies as a plural whereas we would just say salsify, Agnes promoting her own brand of condiment, her carmine and her coralline pepper – which most people agree is what we call paprika. Carmine is just red colouring – we’d use cochineal I guess; however for Mrs Marshall’s cooks it was easy to purchase Marshall’s Harmless Vegetable Colours, As Guaranteed.

The Victorians loved aspic, it crops up everywhere in all sorts of unexpected recipes – here as a thickening agent for the tomato mayonnaise. I don’t think many domestic kitchens have a tammy, which we spell tamis, but they certainly feature a lot in Masterchef in professional kitchens. There are a round, metal drum shaped kitchen utensil with a fine mesh made from metal or nylon or in the olden days, horsehair. However, it seems that the tammy Agnes means is a cloth which you can purchase from her – 1¼ yards long, 2/10 (2 shillings and ten old pence each), and my featured image shows a tammy cloth in use.

Will I be trying this? I don’t think so!

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