Pre-washed greens make for the simplest salad possible: open the plastic container, put the leaves in a bowl, and add dressing. In the middle of winter, when the only produce on the shelves comes from greenhouses or countries on the other side of the equator, it’s tempting to serve this side dish every night. Good Housekeeping’s Book of Salads (1958) pushes back against this kind of complacency with ideas that require more effort but will also “heighten appetites and brighten meals.”
His and Hers salad with king crab and deviled eggs now seems ridiculous. So does a Cinnamon-Candy Salad Mold with candies, fruit cocktail and chopped celery afloat in cherry Jell-O. Yet many other recipes, including this one for Harriet’s Tossed Salad Superb, still appeal even after more than 50 years. As proof, my friends asked for the dressing recipe after I served it.
Harriet’s Tossed Salad Superb (1958)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon [black] pepper
1/4 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1/2 cup salad oil [I used olive oil]
2 medium heads lettuce
2 bunches watercress or 1 small bunch Romaine lettuce
1 cup sliced, blanched almonds, toasted
1 1/2 cups tiny, raw cauliflower florets
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 very ripe avocado, cut in pieces
2 tomatoes, sliced [original recipe called for peeled – I didn’t bother with this]
For the dressing:
In a bowl, mash the garlic with the salt; add the lemon juice, sugar, pepper, celery seeds, paprika and mustard. Blend well. Add the oil and pour into a jar. Shake well and refrigerate.
For the salad:
Several hours ahead of serving, Wash the lettuce and watercress; dry well and tear into smaller pieces. Prepare the almonds and cauliflowerets. Refrigerate all vegetables. At serving time, rub the inside of a salad bowl with the garlic clove. Add the greens, cauliflowerets, almonds, avocado and tomatoes. Add the dressing and toss well.
Variations: Add bits of cheddar or Roquefort cheese; grated, raw carrot; or chopped, hard-cooked eggs.