Salad of Greens

This is a wonderfully refreshing salad that goes well with any dish.


Country: Italy
Century: 16th



  • Assorted greens (lettuce, kale, spinach, etc.)
  • Leeks, cut in rondels
  • Parsley, chopped
  • Assorted herbs (sage, rosemary, thyme, etc.)
  • Olive Oil
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Wash and separate greens. Mix ingredients together. Dress with oil, vinegar and salt and pepper.


Original Recipe Sources

Source [Opera dell'arte del cucinare, Bartolomeo Scappi; Louise Smithson (trans.)]; Of the most perfect mixed salad. (4) Of all the salads we eat in the spring, the mixed salad is the best and most wonderful of all. Take young leaves of mint, those of garden cress, basil, lemon balm, the tips of salad burnet, tarragon, the flowers and most tender leaves of borage, the flowers of swine cress, the young shoots of fennel, leaves of rocket, of sorrel, rosemary flowers, some sweet violets, and the most tender leaves or the hearts of lettuce. When these precious herbs have been picked clean and washed in several waters, and dried a little with a clean linen cloth, they are dressed as usual, with oil, salt and vinegar. It takes more than good hers to make a good salad, for success depends on how they are prepared. So, before going any further, I think I should explain exactly how to do this. It is important to know how to wash your herbs, and then how to season them. Too many housewives and foreign cooks get their green stuff all ready to wash and put it in a bucket of water, or some other pot, and slosh it about a little, and then, instead of taking it out with their hands, as they ought to do, they tip the leaves and water out together, so that all the sand and grit is poured out with them. Distinctly unpleasant to chew on. So, you must first wash your hands, then put the leaves in a bowl of water, and stir them round and round, then lift them out carefully. Do this at least three or four times, until you can see that all the sand and rubbish has fallen to the bottom of the pot. Next you must dry the salad properly and season it correctly. Some cooks put their badly washed, barely shaken salad into a dish with the leaves still so drenched with water that they will not take the oil, which they should to taste right. So I insist that first you must shake your salad really well and then dry it thoroughly with a clean linen cloth so that the oil will adhere properly. Then put it into a bowl in which you have previously put some salt and stir them together, and then add the oil with a generous hand, and stir the salad again with clean fingers or a knife and fork, which is more seemly, so that each leaf is properly coated with oil. Never do as the Germans and other uncouth nations do - pile the badly washed leaves, neither shaken nor dried, up in a mound like a pyramid, then throw on a little salt, not much oil and far too much vinegar, without even stirring. And all this done to produce a decorative effect, where we Italians would much rather feast the palate than the eye. You English are even worse, after washing the salad heaven knows how, you put the vinegar in the dish first, and enough of that for a foot bath for Morgante, and serve it up, unstirred with neither oil nor salt, which you are supposed to add at table. By this time some of the leaves are so saturated with vinegar that they cannot take the oil, while the rest are quite naked and fit only for chicken food. So to make a good salad the proper way, you should put the oil in first of all, stir it into the salad, then add the vinegar and stir again. And if you do not enjoy this, complain to me. The secret of a good salad is plenty of salt, generous oil and little vinegar, hence the Sacred law of salads: Insalata ben salata, Poco aceta & ben oliata. : Salt the salad quite a lot, Then generous oil put in the pot, And vinegar but just a jot. And whosoever transgresses this benign commandment is condemned never to enjoy a decent salad in their life, a fate which I fear lies in store for most of the inhabitants of this kingdom.