Musings of a Lady

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Le Cuisine - A Salmagundi for a pique-nique

This summer I attended a pique-nique (picnic) with like minded 18th century folk the weekend after Bastille Day.  I decided to bring a light and refreshing item to contribute to the collective table.  To that goal, I made a compound salad which is often called a salmagundi.  This is a salad made with layers of garden vegetables, meats and herbs.  I found references to this type of salad in:  Colonial Virginia Cookery by Jane Carson, The Virginia House-Wife by Mary Randolph with historical notes and commentaries by Karen Hess, Apres Moi, Le Dessert: A French eigtheenth century model meal, Notes and translation  by Jim Chevallier.  I also watched a tutorial podcast on the website: In addition I found a definition in Food Lover's Companion, by Sharon Tyler Herbst which says "Salmagundi  (sal-muh-GUHN-dee) a composed salad including greens, chopped cooked meats and vegetables (the later sometimes pickled), anchovies, hard-cooked eggs and pickes.  The ingredients are artfully arranged on a platter and drizzed with dressing.  2.  A general term for a stew or other multi-ingredient dish."  The name of the salad is often seen with different spellings.  So far I have seen salmungdi, salamungdi, salamundy and salamongundy.  Or just simply a compound salad.

Here is my tutorial on how to put together a salamungdi:

I layered decorative kale leaves then topped with mixed lettuces.

Sliced cooked chicken breast fanned over the lettuce layer.

Strips of deli ham and wedges of nectarines followed another handful of lettuces.

Cucumbers (skinned and sliced) layered then more chicken.

Fresh haricot beans parboiled and fanned over the last layer whilst hard boiled eggs  (halved) are arranged around the edges.

More nectarine slices and sliced black olives and the addition of edible flowers.

Close-up of the salad.

Salad placed on the serving table.

 This salad was served with a balsamic vinegar dressing that I provided for guest to drizzle themselves over their own servings.  The salad was well received and complimented the other dishes.

Our pique-nique to celebrate our fallen loved ones to Madame Guillotine ended up a lovely warm and clear day.  

As you can see I did not finish my new Pierrot...sigh.

In the future if you have to bring something to a pique-nique try a salamungdi.  It is easy, period for 16th, 17th and 18th century meals.  It is also refreshing (low fat) and you can use whatever tickles your palate.  Seasonal vegies from the farmer's market or your own delightful garden is ideal.  Pickled ingredients were usual along with freshly cut herbs.  What to do if you are just not a cook?  In the US, we have our chef, Mr. Trader Joes.  :)  Purchase pre-cooked chicken breast sliced, bags of lettuce with herbs, pickled vegies, deli meats and yes, they even carry hardboiled eggs ready to go.  Artfully arrange the lot and your friends won't be any wiser...except if they've read this blog

Enjoy and share your salad combinations!  Cheers.


Anonymous said...

What a fun day and what a beautiful and mouthwatering salad! Stopping by via Creative Every Day.

Angela said...

Thank you Amy! I will take a peek at your poetry website. I am glad you took a minute to stop by here. Come back again.