Dandelion and Scallion Salad with Dressing
Katie Maxwell, Visitor Services Coordinator
Although I’m not a huge salad person, I have no desire to turn the oven on in this heat today. Therefore, I will be trying out Dandelion and Scallion Salad, a 1921 recipe which you can find on pages 87-89 of 35 Receipts from the Larder Invaded by William Woys Weaver and Salad Dressing, pages 55-56. I’ve never eaten dandelions before; my main dandelion experience was in elementary school, excitedly presenting my teacher with a freshly picked bouquet. (The teacher generally made a good show of putting the somewhat bedraggled weeds in a cup of water.)
I am starting first with the salad. In accordance with advice from the internet, I’ve resisted the temptation to simply pick the dandelion greens I need from the ground and bought some from a local co-op instead.
Now, the ingredients:
1 qt. berry box dandelion leaves (measure after cutting up)
1 cup cut scallion
½ cup dressing (see recipe 19)
1 hard boiled egg
I don’t have a berry box, so I will just be using the measurements on one of my mixing bowls.
Clean, wash and cut the dandelion into 12 inch pieces,
I wasn’t sure what to do with the long stems, but they seemed rather woody and fibrous, so I ended up composting them.
scallions are cut the same.
While working from home, I learned that you can regrow scallions in water. It worked pretty well until my cat knocked them over. Cats have no respect for kitchen experiments.
Put into cold water for 1 hour.
Dr. Weaver notes that the cold water soak is intended to remove some of the bitterness. Since I have an hour to kill, I might as well start on the dressing.
The Dressing Ingredients…
Already there is a complication. Instead of a recipe, we have the following poem from 1868:
Your good lady Salad-maker forgot to say
That Sidney Smith composed her famous lay.
He praises anchovy and onion; they’re enough
To frighten every dainty palate from the stuff.
If you must have potato–why? I cannot see,
Let it be only one, and let it mealy be.
I think none needed, for the yolks of boiled eggs
Keep up the dressing’s body well upon it legs.
I made the blind Reverend’s mixture, and I found
It stiff and dry–not heavenly, too much of ground;
Two hard boiled from barn-door fowls you’ll need;
Keep those from far off Brahma and Houdan to breed;
Of Durham mustard a full teaspoon grant;
The same of salt and sugar fine you’ll want;
A dash of capiscum excites the whole,
And keeps the Durham under good control;
Fill twice the spoon with vinegar quite clear;
Rub well the solids till no lumps appear.
Now pour the oil of gladness–let it be
The sweetest, purest from the olive tree;
Stint not your spending–get the finest, best;
Without it, time is idly spent with all the rest;
Rub in three tablespoonsful at discretion,
‘Tis hard to get too much–it’s my impression.
Come forth crisp lettuce! Hot-bed! Quick reveal;
Oh! Cut it with knife silvered–not with steel
Pour on the soft persuader–stir by slow degrees;
Eat as a course, alone–add only biscuit hard and cheese.
Fortunately, Dr. Weaver decided to “untangle the puzzle” on page 56.
For real this time, the ingredients:
yolks of 2 hard boiled eggs
1 tsp. mustard
1 tsp. superfine sugar
dash of pepper
2 tbsp. vinegar
3 tblsp. olive oil
Work all the ingredients except the olive oil to a smooth paste.
Add the oil, pour the dressing onto the salad, toss and serve.
I guess I can’t finish the last step until the salad itself is ready. Back to it.
My greens have been sitting in the cold water for an hour, so now it’s time to
Drain; put into a flour bag that you keep for that purpose.
I have a bag of flour, but something tells me that is not what this recipe writer is looking for. A colander and a paper towel will just have to do.
The egg is made the day before.
In my case, the egg is made now (with surprising little mangling).
A good plan is to make enough salad dressing for a week.
I don’t know how much is considered enough for a week. I just followed the recipe.
When mealtime comes, mix the dandelion, scallions, and dressing together, and garnish with a finely chopped hard boiled egg.
As I’ve said, I’m not much of a salad person, but I’m pleasantly surprised by this one. It is very crunchy, rather oniony, and holds up well in the fridge.