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3rd Qtr 11:28 2nd & 4, Opp's 40

Cooking

Recipes for a traditional English luncheon

A salad and dessert worthy of Wimbledon.

Salmagundi, an English take on chef’s salad.

Photograph by Jim Scherer / Styling by Catrine Kelty

Salmagundi, an English take on chef’s salad.

With tennis at Wimbledon come thoughts of things British, including an elaborate take on chef’s salad called Salmagundi. Dating centuries back (some say the 1700s, some the Elizabethan era), it is an adaptable dish that usually includes greens, herbs, potatoes, other vegetables, chicken, fish, pickles, fruit, and nuts in a vinaigrette. From what I’ve read, pigeon, turtle, duck, veal, and herring showed up in some recipes, though I skip those in my 21st-century version. Victoria Sandwich, a teatime stalwart, makes a great dessert.

SALMAGUNDI

Serves 6 as a main course

6 ounces green beans

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8 ounces sugar snap peas

1 pound small red potatoes

1 tablespoon wine vinegar

1 cup thinly sliced red onion

1½ tablespoons juice plus

1 teaspoon finely grated zest from 1 lemon

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2½ tablespoons finely chopped tarragon

Salt and pepper

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 large romaine heart, leaves torn

1 pound cooked chicken breast, bias-sliced

½ pound baked ham, cut into ½-inch cubes

1 Granny Smith apple, cut into matchsticks

4 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and quartered

2/3 cup drained cornichons

12 marinated anchovy fillets, each cut in half

¼ cup raisins

¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted and cooled

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

In a large pot of boiling water, cook the green beans for about 2 minutes, then transfer to an ice water bath. Return the water to a boil, add the sugar snap peas, and cook 1½ minutes, then transfer to the ice water. Drain vegetables and set aside, cutting pea pods in half. Return the water to a boil, add the potatoes, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain, quarter, arrange in a layer on rimmed baking sheet, drizzle 1½ teaspoons vinegar over them, and rest until cool, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, cover the onion with cool water, set aside for 30 minutes, then drain.

Photograph by Jim Scherer / Styling by Catrine Kelty

TIP: Old salmagundi recipes often use edible flowers as a garnish. Squash blossoms, pansies, nasturtiums, and the blossoms from chives, lavender, or basil are all edible. You can find them at farmer’s markets and some grocery stores.

Also meanwhile, in a very large bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and zest, remaining vinegar, mustard, tarragon, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Vigorously whisk in the oil until emulsified. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary (you should have about ¾ cup dressing). Remove all but 3 tablespoons of dressing and set aside.

Working quickly, add the romaine to the bowl, toss to coat, then arrange as a bed on a very large serving platter. In the bowl, separately toss the chicken and then the potatoes, each with a pinch of salt and 1½ tablespoons dressing and arrange on the lettuce. Then separately toss the beans, peas, ham, and apple, each with 1 tablespoon dressing, and arrange on lettuce. Add the eggs to the salad, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, and drizzle with 1 tablespoon dressing. Add the cornichons. Toss the onion with the remaining 1 tablespoon dressing and scatter onion and anchovies over the salad. Scatter the raisins and almonds, sprinkle with parsley, and serve at once.

VICTORIA SANDWICH

Makes one 9-inch cake

Normally this cake is made with jam alone, but I add fresh berries. I’ve also added cream cheese to the cream, a trick I learned from a Cook’s Illustrated colleague.

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus extra softened butter for pan

1¼ cups cake flour, plus extra for pan

1½ teaspoons baking powder

Salt

4 large eggs plus 2 yolks, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

2½ teaspoons vanilla extract

2 pints fresh strawberries, hulled and halved

2 ounces cream cheese, softened

¾ cup heavy cream, cold

¾ cup strawberry jam

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

With the rack in the middle position, heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch nonstick cake pan, line with parchment round, butter parchment, flour pan, and set aside. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and ¼ teaspoon salt.

With a hand-held or standing mixer, beat the eggs and yolks at medium speed until frothy. Adjust the speed to high and gradually add ¾ cup sugar; beat until eggs triple in volume and are very pale, about 3 minutes. Adjust the speed to medium-high and continue beating for 2 minutes longer. Adjust the speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture just to incorporate (do not overmix). Scrape about half the mixture into the bowl that held the flour and set aside. Whisk the melted butter with 2 teaspoons vanilla, gradually add to the mixer bowl, and with a large flexible spatula, rapidly but gently fold to combine. Add this buttery batter mixture to the reserved batter mixture, and rapidly but gently fold to combine. Scrape into the prepared pan, smooth, and bake until golden brown, springy, and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean, about 30 minutes, rotating pan after 15 (do not overbake). Transfer to a rack and cool for 10 minutes. Gently run a dinner knife around the edge of the pan, turn out the cake, remove parchment, replace on rack, and cool, at least 90 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, gently toss the berries with 1½ tablespoons sugar, cover, and set aside.

With a hand-held or standing mixer, beat the cream cheese and remaining sugar and vanilla at medium-high until light and fluffy, about 1½ minutes, scraping the bowl as necessary. Adjust speed to low and slowly add the cream; when almost fully combined, adjust the speed to medium-high and beat until fluffy and forming stiff peaks, about 1½ minutes longer.

Using a serrated knife, halve the cake through its equator and set the bottom half on a cake plate. Spread the cream mixture evenly over the bottom of the cake. Ring strawberry halves, cut sides down and stem ends out, around perimeter of cake. Roughly chop the remaining berries and spread them on the cream. Spread the jam on the cut side of the top cake half, leaving a ½-inch border. Position the top of the cake, jam side down, on the bottom and press lightly. Serve at once, or cover loosely and chill for up to 4 hours, dusting the top with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.

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