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Alternative namesSalmi
Place of originEngland
Main ingredientsMeats, seafood, vegetables, fruit, leaves, nuts and flowers, oil, vinegar, spices

Salmagundi (sometimes abbreviated as salmi)[1] is a dish of seasoned meats, stewed with vegetables.


"Salmagundi is more of a concept than a recipe. Essentially, it is a large composed salad that incorporates meat, seafood, cooked vegetables, raw vegetables, fruits, and nuts and is arranged in an elaborate way. Think of it as the British answer to Salad Niçoise."—[2]

In English culture the term does not refer to a single recipe, but describes the grand presentation of a large plated salad comprising many disparate ingredients. These can be arranged in layers or geometrical designs on a plate or mixed. The ingredients are then drizzled with a dressing. The dish aims to produce wide range of flavours and colours and textures on a single plate. Often recipes allow the cook to add various ingredients which may be available at hand, producing many variations of the dish. Flowers from broom and sweet violet were often used.

History and Etymology[edit]

Etymologically, the word comes from Rabelais' Third Book of Pantagruel (Tiers livre, 1546), in which it is written as "salmigondin". The word salmagundi is derived from the French word salmigondis which means disparate assembly of things, ideas or people, forming an incoherent whole.[3] It seems to appear in English for the first time in the 17th century as a dish of cooked meats, seafood, vegetables, fruit, leaves, nuts and flowers and dressed with oil, vinegar and spices. Salmagundi is used figuratively in modern English to mean a mixture or assortment of things. There is some debate over sense and origin of the word.[4] Salmagundi was a popular dish with pirates and buccaneers of the Caribbean West Indies. [5]

Typical early 18th century recipe[edit]

"To make a Cold Hash, or Salad-Magundy. TAKE a cold Turkey, two cold Chickens, or if you have neither, a piece of fine white Veal will do; cut the Breasts of these Fowls into fair dices, and Mince all the rest; to the Quantity of two Chickens you mull take eight or ten large Anchovies, wash and bone them, eight large Pickl’d Oysters, ten or twelve fine green Pickl’d Cucumbers, shred the Oysters, the Anchovies, the Cucumbers, and one whole Lemon small, mix them with the shred Meat, lay it in the middle of the Dish, lay the Dices of the white part round the Dish, with halv’d Anchovies, whole Pickl’d Oysters, quarter’d Cucumbers, sliced Lemon, whole Pickl’d Mushrooms, Capers or any Pickle you like; cut also some fine Lettice, and lay round among the Garnish, but put not Oil and Vinegar to the Minced Meat, ’till it comes to Table."[6]

Jamaican fish paste[edit]

The word retains its culinary connection today as Solomon Gundy, the name given to a spicy Caribbean paste made of mashed, pickled herrings, peppers and onions. In Jamaica, Solomon Gundy refers more specifically to a dish made of salt herring and spices.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Leite's Culinaria
  2. ^ Oland, Sydney (April 24, 2013). "Salmagundi Recipe". Serious Eats. Retrieved 25 October 2020.
  3. ^ "The Free Dictionary". Farlex, Inc. 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-29.
  4. ^ CRAIG CLAIBORNE The 'Salmagundi' Debate Continues; A Cold Salad Another Source January 16, 1978 New York Times
  5. ^ Marley, David (2010). Pirates of the Americas. Santa Barbara CA: ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9781598842012. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  6. ^ Kettilby, Mary (1734). A collection of above three hundred receipts in cookery, physick, and surgery : for the use of all good wives, tender mothers, and careful nurses. London: London : Printed for the executrix of Mary Kettilby, and sold by W. Parker ... pp. 204–205. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  7. ^ The food of Jamaica: authentic recipes from the jewel of the Caribbean. John DeMers, Eduardo Fuss. Tuttle Publishing, 1998. ISBN 962-593-401-4, ISBN 978-962-593-401-3 Pg 123


  • Richard Mabey, "Food for Free - A guide to the edible wild plants of Britain". 1972.