Thursday, 20 March 2014

74. Two Recipes, for Potato Salad with Dill, and for Tuna & Herb Salad

for Frances (& for her birthday, though I forgot to give it to her) (& for Gavin), Kay & Steve, & Anna, most of whom have eaten some of this, and for Erna, who feeds me similar

Two recipes, not corrosive in the slightest
& as political as they are pastoral
– now, the tuna salad is long-noted
(distributed summer & winter) & counter-
balanced by the potato dish
blending Erna’s dill with my wife’s
probably quite American potato salad[1]

For the potato salad we can see you’ll need
           little new potatoes
                  – however many – neither excess nor restraint matters
                                                      only need
                      but silence here on brand names
                      again as you need & desire
                      even maybe make your own[2]
           a couple of eggs
           (and/or a couple of bacon rashers)
           some french beans or similar
           several sprigs of dill
                             – essential for our savour!
           maybe some other kinds of seasonings
                            there are no secrets here
                            only what gives pleasure
then first boil or steam those potatoes
(washed, scrubbed as necessary & unless all minute
cut into smaller bits, pragmatic in equality)
as they do this, hard boil those eggs
then cool, peel & cut also into what pieces
or grill the bacon till crispish, cool then cut up
steam (I insist!) your trimmed beans, again
cut into whatever suitable size
& when all cooled
mix, not quite again & again, but enough
all with whatever amount of mayonnaise &
with several fine cut sprays of dill
maybe more with the egg
leave it for taste to develop a while
& serve (if you like) attractively sprinkled
(as if transient stains) w/ parsley or chervil say

The other salad is a fresher comedy
instantaneous as rioting if you’ve got
what you need (as you ought)[3]
           a jar or tin of good quality tuna
                           (from as sound a fishery as you can find)
           a small red onion
           a chilli or two or more
           lots of fresh herbs like           
           chives, apple mint, thyme, oregano
           a little fennel, some tarragon &
           a little lovage, some chervil is good[4]
                            – we could live by this – tastes like light!
           good olive oil, good wine vinegar & some pepper
           even a sprinkling of salt or dash of soy
so first peel & cut that onion reasonably fine
(let its bits be a little resistant at last)
seed & cut the chillies and cut small all the herbs
mix all this with drained pieces of the tuna flesh
add the oil, a little vinegar & seasonings as you wish
fork it – taste: inextinguishable once born
& its attack matches the silence of the potato salad well
or excellent with good bread or even for sandwiches

[These recipes of course transform, yet remain the same. How you serve them, and how precisely you do them & with what, is open to the always encouraged art of improvisation. As I said, the potato salad harkens to my wife’s recipe (surely from American-influenced poolside snacking in post-war Singapore), blended with Erna Weiss’s “continental” (as we used to say) cooking. The tuna salad, again, probably from Ginie at its origin, but I seem to have made it all my adult life. I’ll throw in another little one, a sandwich filling – sauerkraut, salami & tabasco sauce – such bastard blends the algorithms of taste churn out, like jackpot wins on a slot machine, in some now-ruined high street.]

[1] We ate Heinz of course in my childhood – & their delicious vegetable salad, as macedoine as this poem sequence, nested in the friendly acerbity of salad cream.
[2] Lazy Amorite that I am, I don’t!
[3] Also to riot
[4] Also grow them!

No comments:

Post a Comment