Monday, 5 November 2012

Robert May's Recipe for Grand Sallet, 1660

Today's recipe is from the Stuart Period 1603–1714 and is interesting as it's one of the first recipes in a major cookery book to feature 'Virginia Potatoes' (ie potatoes) in the recipe.

The recipe itself is derived from Robert May's Accomplisht Cook.

The full original recipe is given below:

To make a grand Sallet of divers Compounds.

TAke a cold roast capon and cut it into thin slices square and small, (or any other roast meat as chicken, mutton, veal, or neats tongue) mingle with it a little minced taragon and an onion, then mince lettice as small as the capon, mingle all together, and lay it in the middle of a clean scoured dish. Then lay capers by themselves, olives by themselves, samphire by it self, broom buds, pickled mushrooms, pickled oysters, lemon, orange, raisins, almonds, blue-figs, Virginia Potato, caperons, crucifix pease, and the like, more or less, as occasion serves, lay them by themselves in the dish round the meat in partitions. Then garnish the dish sides with quarters of oranges, or lemons, or in slices, oyl and vinegar beaten together, and poured on it over all.

        On fish days, a roast, broil’d, or boil’d pike boned, and being cold, slice it as abovesaid.

The 'Grand Sallet' is what we would call today a 'great salad' and a modern redaction of this recipe can be given as:

Stuart-style Great Salad Recipe

500g chicken meat, finely diced
2 tbsp tarragon, finely minced
1 red onion, finely diced
2 loose-leaf lettuces, finely diced
2 tbsp capers, drained
2 tbsp black olives
2 tbsp green olives
4 tbsp pickled samphire
2 tbsp pickled broom buds
4 tbsp pickled button mushrooms
12 pickled oysters
2 tbsp raisins, plumped by soaking in warm water
2 tbsp slivered almonds
6 black figs
12 baby new potatoes, boiled until tender
2 tbsp baby peas, boiled until tender
wedges of lemon and orange
salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

In a bowl, mix together the chicken, tarragon, onion and lettuce. Toss well to combine then season to taste and pile this mixture in the centre of a serving dish.

Garnish around the chicken mixture with the fruit, pickles, oysters, fruit, potatoes and vegetables so that you have an attractive border. Serve immediately.

See the Historic Recipes page on this blog for more historic recipes.

You can read the entire text from Robert May's cookbook on the Celtnet Accomplisht Cook pages.

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