“The brilliant chanteuse is best know to baby boomers for such songs as Fever, Is That All There Is? And I’m a Woman, the w-o-m-a-n song that Miss Piggy sang with Raquel Welch that time on The Muppet Show…. Lee’s originals-like the recipe that follows- will give you fever, baby.”Frank DeCaro, The Dead Celebrity Cookbook
Alright, so the inspiration for this post is a recipe published in the deliciously outrageously entitled, The Dead Celebrity Cookbook: Recipes and Ruminations from the Great Studio Commissary in the Sky: A Resurrection of Recipes from More Than 145 Stars of Stage and Screen.
The author is Frank DeCaro, an American film critic, who has made this collection by sifting through old newspapers, recipe compendiums, musty biographies and vintage film magazines.
I’m not sure I would have given too much attention to this particular recipe if I wasn’t a big fan of Miss Peggy Lee (as she was always introduced), as well as of George Shearing, the jazz pianist who often accompanied her.
In any case, I’m very glad I did, because DeCaro is right – it’s a simple green salad, but made a bit special thanks mostly to generous quantities of both almonds and spring onions. I’ve developed the concept a bit, and exchanged the garlic powder for the Real Thing.
What to have with this salad. Well, on one memorable occasion (February 24th 1970), Peggy Lee sang at the White House… she made a number of embarrassing gaffes, and finished by planting a robust smacker right onto the President’s lips. It was a state visit from Georges Pompidou, president of France. She wasn’t invited back. On that occasion they served Contre-filet de boeuf au cèpes and a Château Ausone 1962…. just a suggestion.
Miss Peggy Lee’s Jade Salad
Serves – 6
- 2 heads of romaine lettuce, washed if necessary
- 240 ml/1 cup olive oil
- 60 ml/¼ cup/4 tbsps red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 fat clove of garlic peeled and crushed with 1 tsp smoked salt
- Generous grinds of pepper
- 2 tbsps runny honey (heat the spoon first in order to be able to measure more easily)
- 35g/¼ cup/4 tbsps toasted sesame seeds
- 25g/¼ cup/4 tbsps grated Parmesan (or Old Winchester, or Sussex Charmer)
- 6 spring onions
- 35g/½ cup toasted slivered almonds
- Make the dressing, by mixing the oil, honey, Dijon mustard, garlic, pepper, and vinegar. Mix well.
- Very thinly slice the green part of the spring onions (discarding any flabby end), add to the dressing. Cut the white part into very short lengths about ¼”/½ cm long.
- Tear the lettuce into small pieces and add to the salad bowl. Add the dressing, toss well. Throw over the white lengths of spring onion, the cheese, the sesame seeds, and the slivered almonds. Mix in before serving out.
Music to cook by
It has to be Peggy Lee singing Fever.