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John Evelyn’s Mixed Salad

by Mary-Anne Boermans from Deja Food

Travel back in time with this 17th century recipe for mixed salad, recreated for the modern kitchen by Mary-Anne Boermans. A perfect combination of salty, sweet and tangy.

Introduction

As a contrast to the formality of an arranged salad such as Salmagundy, this recipe from John Evelyn's classic book on salads, Acetaria:A Discourse of Sa/lets (1699), is delightfully freeform and haphazard. Relying mostly on store-cupboard ingredients, it requires only the addition of a couple of fresh items to come together. If you've ever thought the concept of a salad could in any way be encapsulated in a limp mix of lettuce, tomato and cucumber, I thoroughly recommend perusing John Evelyn's book for a fabulously refreshing peek at the sheer number and range of late seventeenth-century salad ingredients.

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Ingredients

100g fresh samphire
2 handfuls mixed salad leaves, such as spinach, lamb's lettuce or rocket
A selection of pickled / marinated vegetables such as cornichons, capers, olives, silverskin onions
50g flaked almonds
50g chopped, candied peel
50g currants
50g colourful raisins
Oil and vinegar dressing

Method

Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the samphire for 2 minutes.Drain and then drop into a bowl of iced water to cool. Drain again.

Arrange the salad leaves on a serving platter and scatter the samphire over the top. Sprinkle over the rest of the ingredients and serve with the dressing on the side for everyone to help themselves.

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