- 12 Apr 2019
- Local time
- 12:22 PM
- Hilltowns of Massachusetts
“Cut some pickled herring into pieces and mix with flaked lax, 2 peeled apples and 2 boiled potatoes. Cut into dice pieces; add some chopped shallots and gherkins; sprinkle with finely minced tarragon and chervil, salt and pepper. Cover with a plain salad dressing.” — 1908.At one point, I planned to cook through everything that remotely sounded interesting in this Gutenberg Project cookbook, 365 Foreign Dishes: A Foreign Dish for every day in the year 1908. It's on my Kindle.
I'm absolutely lagging behind on that (this is the only recipe so far I've cooked from it). But after the retro recipe thread around on this site somewhere, I decided I wanted to post my efforts on something truly RETRO, so here we go.
Cookbook writers weren’t particularly specific back then regarding amounts, but this is better than most. I am going to assume recipes back when were not meant to serve just one person, and go from there. I will also decide that “lax” means “lox”, and is not some sort of shortcut for “laxative”.
Here we go:
2 medium potatoes, preferably something with flavor like a Yukon gold. (Each potato works out to about 7 ounces (200 grams), and I ended up with red potatoes.) Boil in salted water until soft but not soggy — about 30 minutes for the above-sized potato. Prick with fork to test. Leave the skins on but of course remove eyes and other imperfections before boiling. (
10-11 ounces (300 grams) Marinated herring in wine sauce, not the cream sauce. If some of the onion bits want to come into the salad, more power to them. Cut the herring into approximately 1/2-1 inch segments. I am figuring that “pickled herring” is going to be rather similar enough to the marinated herring we currently see this fish labeled as, in our supermarkets.
7 ounces (200 grams) Smoked wild salmon. Shred as need be. I tried for 1/2 – 1 inch shreds, of one thin layer deep. I’m sure in Norway in 1908 they were using their local wild salmon, but I don’t know if any of that is left. I source my smoked wild through Costco, but BJ’s is another warehouser that at least, also carries it.
2 peeled and cored apples. I try to go for local, but this is a bad time of year for that, so I bit the bullet. Washington State, Gala apples. Coarsely chop, say 1/2 to 1 inch segments.
2 medium Shallots, finely chopped.
2 small dill pickles or gherkins, finely chopped. All right, I used some of my home canned dill pickles here, but it is up to you.
1.5 teaspoons dried tarragon
1/2 teaspoon chervil (if you can find it – on short notice, I did not. Try Penzey’s. I adapted with savory, about 1/2 teaspoon.)
Salt and pepper to taste.
Combine all of the above, and add a simple homemade oil and vinegar salad dressing, just to lightly coat. Oil – Olive oil. Vinegar – apple cider vinegar (I used the Bragg’s one with the “mother” not filtered out, 1 part vinegar to 2 parts oil.) The amount you want to use of this dressing probably should be just enough to splash over for flavor, not drench.
This turned out VERY well. Even though the potato wasn’t as flavorful as one of the “gold” varieties, this worked well together. I’d say the above amounts would provide five servings. I am not also very certain that most folk back in 1908 would have access to Yukon Golds anyway.
Last edited by a moderator: