Reviving Salmagundi

Claiborne and All Who Sailed in him (honestly, I can’t count how often I’ve wanted to kick that pontifical old queen under the table) declared, “There is something about the word ‘salmagundi’ that has an unmistakable appeal for savants with a leaning toward gourmandism.”

I have no ambition of being a savant, much less one learning towards gourmandism. Like many others, I simply find salmagundi—like pettifoggery, kittywampus, or hullabaloo—a word I want to pick off the page, cuddle, and tease with a string.

The dish is just as playful, actually, not so much a dish as it is a presentation like an antipasto or a smorgasbord, of a selection of cold vegetables, pickles, meats, and fruit mounded on a tray.

By precedent, you want your meat, cold poached chicken atop salad greens ringed with pickles, cooked eggs, raw or blanched vegetables, citrus, nuts, sausages, and cold fish—anchovies are a classic addition, but I like smoked salmon, too.

Pretty much anything goes with the notable exception of cheese, which isn’t included in any reliable historic recipe.

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