To Make a Salmagundy

Contrary to popular belief, the British ate salads. Usually, meat was the criteria for judging the quality of a meal, and perhaps the host and hostess. Nevertheless, salmagundy was one of those special dishes loved by all. This dish was a centerpiece at a fine table and had the status of the best roasted beef.

18th Century

TAKE two or three Roman or Cabbage-Lettuce; and when you have wash’d them clean, swing them pretty dry in a Cloth; then beginning at the open End, cut them cross-ways, as fine as a good big Thread, and lay the Lettuce so cut about an Inch thick in the Bottom of a Dish: When you have thus garnish’d your Dish, take a couple of cold roasted Pullets or Chickens, and cut the Flesh of the Breasts and Wings into Slices about three Inches long, a quarter of an Inch broad, and as thin as a Shilling, lay them upon the Lettuce round the one End to the middle of the Dish, and the other toward the Brim: Then having bon’d and cut half a dozen Anchovies, each into eight Pieces, lay them all round betwixt each Slice of the Fowls; then cut the lean Meat of the Pullets or Chickens Legs into small Dice, and cut a Lemon into small Dice: Then mince the Yolks of four hard Eggs, with three or four Anchovies, and a little Parsley; and make a round Heap of these in the middle of your Dish, piling it up in the Form of a Sugar-loaf, and garnish it with small Onions as big as the Yolks of Eggs, boiled in a good deal of water, very tender and white; put the largest of the Onions on the middle of the minc’d Meat on the top of the Salamongundy, and lay the rest all round the Brim of the Dish, as thick as you can lay them; then beat some Sallad-Oil up with Vinegar, Salt, and Pepper, and pour over it all; garnish with Grapes just scalded, or French Beans blanched, or Station-Flowers, and serve it up hot for a first Course.

Nott, Cooks and Confectioners Dictionary, Art. 35.

21st Century

  • 1 whole chicken, roasted
  • 1 head red leaf lettuce
  • 4 eggs, hard-boiled
  • 1 head green leaf lettuce
  • 2 small onions
  • 2 2-oz. tins of flat anchovy fillets, partially drained
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 8 slices of ham (6” round, medium thickness)
  • 4 Tbsp. vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  1. After chicken is roasted, separate meat from the bone. Coarsely chop, keeping the dark meat separate from the white meat.
  2. Shell hard-boiled eggs. Separate the yolks from the whites and mince each separately.
  3. Finely chop the onions and parsley, and dice the lemons. Keep separate.
  4. Cut ham slices into 1” squares.
  5. Wash and drain lettuces, separate leaves, and dry.
  6. On a large round plate, arrange your ingredients as follows, working from the outside into the center in rings: red lettuce leaves, green lettuce leaves, white chicken meat, anchovies, minced egg yolks, diced lemon, dark chicken meat, onions, ham pieces, parsley, and egg whites.
  7. In a small bowl, add oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper (to taste). Mix well and drizzle over entire salad. Serve.

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14 Responses to “To Make a Salmagundy”

  1. March 10th, 2011

    Lisa Hrinko says:

    I have made Salmagundy for a number of historical group dinners. However, anchovies are not a popular addition.

  2. July 12th, 2011

    Nicole says:

    This is almost like a modern day Cobb salad! Our Living History group made this one, too, for a couple different events. The first time making it, we did not layer it correctly, so we made sure to do so the second time around. Much more success! We’re always looking for good 18th Century dishes to make in camp. This one was easy to make and great for groups. Thank you for these recipes!

  3. November 14th, 2012

    Emily says:

    This looks amazing! Will have to try ASAP.

  4. March 14th, 2013

    Cat says:

    I made this for a C18th supper meeting of the Lexington Militia, and it went down very well. The serving plate needs to be massive to display all of the ingredients! I used fresh marinated anchovies, not the brined variety and they -and the chicken- vanished first.
    For the dressing I used an old variety of vinegar called alegar (vinegar made from ale) and the milder taste suited the dish very well, although the taste caused a few comments as to what it was.

  5. July 8th, 2013

    Dragon Stormwolf says:

    Hello. I have made this salad for friends and for re-enactments. You can remove the Anchovies and instead leave out all together or like I do get Black olives. The Large style are best(Would have been available from Trade ships in Colonial Days) Pitted in a lit oil. Puree these with a clove of Garlic that has been peeled and crushed first. Once pureed you can spoon this mixture heavily in the place of anchovies. Be sure that you mash it flat so it fills the anchovies area in the salad. Gives the anchovies texture but a far better taste! and is technically still period!

  6. January 11th, 2017

    Kate says:

    What are Station Flowers?

    • January 1st, 2020

      Mercy says:

      station flowers are probably nasturtiums, which are edible and taste vaguely like watercress.

  7. January 4th, 2018

    Bonnie says:

    Sounds delicious. Looking forward to making. Question is… once served how is it eaten? Does everyone just pick out what they like?

    • January 17th, 2018

      kcosta says:

      Hi Bonnie- It is served just like a tossed salad. One simply chooses what they would like!

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