Thursday, October 4, 2012

Solomon Gundy with Update

I love my library.  They fund raise by having a donated book sale every Tuesday afternoon. I always go directly to the cookbooks. I found two gems. They cost me $1.50. I will not part with my copies because I have become really interested in Caribbean Food. But you can buy your own copies from Abe Books. The cookbook titles are links.

Solomon Gundy is a Jamaican Salad. The name of the salad is a transformation of Salmagundi. Salmagundi is an Art Club in New York City. 

Salmagundi is also a whole meal salad created in the 17th century. One takes cold cooked Meat, Seafood, Vegetables, Fruit, Flowers, Nuts and Oil and Vinegar and combines them. Sort of odd bits salad. In Jamaica they used pickled fish. This and that. 

Here are two vintage recipes. I prefer the second recipe which actually helped me understand the first recipe.  This is a really good appetizer or lunch. Persevere. 

Traditional Jamaican Cookery by Norman Benghiat, Penguin Handbooks, 1985.

Solomon Gundy

2 lb. (1kg) pickled shad
1/2 lb. (250kg) pickled cod
1/2 lb. pickled mackerel
2 onions
2 hot peppers, preferably Scotch bonnet if possible, chopped
1/2 cup salad oil
12 pimento berries

Place the shad, herring and mackerel in a large bowl. Cover them with cold water and leave to soak for at least 4 hours to get rid of excess salt. Discard this water and add enough boiling water to cover the fish completely. Leave for 5 minutes, then again discard the water.

Remove the skin and heads from the fish, and as many of the bones as possible. Either put the flesh of the fish through a food mill with the onions and hot peppers, or chop the fish, onions and peppers very finely. Mix very well. Add the oil, the whole pimento berries and enough vinegar to make a paste. Store in sterilized jars. It will keep indefinitely. Serve on crackers or thin slices of bread. If shad is unavailable, use increased quantities of the other fish.

Cooking the Caribbean Way by Mary Slater, Paul Hamlyn Ltd., 1965

Salamagundi (sic)

4 Servings:

4 large Pickled Herring
1 breast of cold Chicken, cooked and minced
3 Apples, minced
3 Onions, cooked and minced
1 hard boiled Egg
Salt and Pepper

Slit each Herring along the side, being careful not to take the cut right to the head or the tail, keeping Fish intact. Carefully scrape out the flesh and remove the bones. Clean the Fish skin, pound the flesh with Chicken, Apples, Onions and season with Salt and Pepper. Pack the mixture inside the Fish skins until they look full and plump.

Old Jamaican recipes tell you to garnish with Barberries and Samphire, but failing these, a bed of Lettuce and a garnish of sliced Radishes, Tomatoes and Egg are very good indeed.