Salads are divided into two groups, dinner salads and the more substantial ones served at supper and luncheon in the place of meats. They are exceedingly wholesome.
Nearly all the meats, vegetables, and fruits may be served as salads. The essential thing is to have the salad fresh and cold; and if green, to have the leaves crisp and dry.
Lettuce, Romaine, endive and chicory or escarole make the best dinner salads, although one may use mixed cooked vegetables or well-prepared uncooked cabbage.
Left-over green vegetables, string beans, peas, carrots, turnips, cauliflower, cooked spinach, leeks and beets may all take their place in the dinner salad. Use them mixed, alone, or as a garnish for lettuce.
Lettuce and all green, raw salad vegetables should be washed and soaked in cold water as soon as they come from the market. After they have stood fifteen to twenty minutes in cold or ice water, free them from moisture by swinging them in a wire basket, or dry, without bruising, each leaf carefully with a napkin. Put them in a cheese-cloth bag and on the ice, ready for service. In this way they will remain dry and cold, and will keep nicely for a week.
The dressing is added only at the moment of serving, as the salad wilts if allowed to stand after the dressing is added.
Meat of any kind used for salads should be cut into dice, but not smaller than one-half inch, or it will seem like hash. It should be marinated before being mixed with the other parts of the salad. Meat mixtures are usually piled in cone-shape on a dish, the mayonnaise then spread over it, and garnished with lettuce, capers, hard-boiled eggs, gherkins, etc.
Take one part of oil and three of vinegar, with pepper and salt for taste; stir them into the meat, and let it stand a couple of hours; drain off any of the marinade which has not been absorbed before combining the meat with the other parts of the salad. Use only enough marinade to season the meat or fish.
If too much vinegar is added to mayonnaise it robs it of its consistency and flavor. All salads must be mixed at the last minute, at serving time. Mayonnaise dressing may be made hours before and the meat, lettuce and celery prepared, but each must be kept in a separate dish until mixing time.