According to Collumella – a Roman writer who wrote about ancient Roman agriculture (AD 4-AD 70), any typical Roman salad or Roman salads are a creation of pure imagination, which also reflect the richness of the land. These salads were known for their abundant varieties. They incorporated assorted ingredients, right from cheese, herbs and raw vegetables to nuts and fruits. Vinegar was largely used for dressing and until this date, the Roman salads encapsulate the wisdom of ancient Roman cooking and opulence of locally grown ingredients. It has been found that most of the salads prepared in ancient Rome lacked salt and they were substituted with cheese. Today, in fact with growing health concerns over the usage of cheese and butter, these recipes were modified with healthier versions.
Features of Roman Salads
The Roman salads are differentiated into cooked and raw. The cooked includes the dishes that are known as all’agro.
- Verdure All’agro: These Roman salad variants are so named because they are served with sour sauce. The vegetables are boiled, drained, blanched, and seasoned with pepper, salt, olive oil and lemon juice. Some of the most commonly used vegetables are spinach, broccoli, chicory, cauliflower, string beans, wild asparagus and broccoli rabe.
- Insalate Crude Or Raw Salads: This salad variant is prepared by combining different salad greens. Carrots, peppers and cheese are not generally found in these salads. White grapes and thinly sliced eggs are also found in these salads.
Roman Salad Recipes
- Columella Salad: This salad is so named because its recipe is derived from one of the writings of Columella in his book Re Rustica. The salad is put together using fresh mint, parsley, coriander, leek, thyme, salted fresh cheese, olive oil, pepper and vinegar. These ingredients are crushed in mortar to make a salad.
- Roman Holiday Salad: This salad is mostly packed for snacks to be savored during the picnics and it is aptly named as holiday salad too. This salad is prepared using ingredients like pasta, olive oil, tomato, red onion, diced sweet pickles, olive oil and green pepper. The salad is dressed with a unique dressing created out of ingredients like mayonnaise, sour cream, Italian-styled dressing, fresh dills, salt, black pepper, sweet pickle juice. The pasta based salad can remain fresh for about 3 days if stored in refrigerator.