A few nights ago, even though we spent only an hour together, I was immensely refreshed and invigorated by a conversation with an after-dinner guest. He had dined at my restaurant and then came upstairs to see me in my library. His name is Milt Schoenbaum. I suppose that only those in the culinary arts would recognize his name, but you should know who he is, too.
My friend Milt -- or Uncle Milt, as many call him -- is a young-minded, able-bodied man of 80 years. He started his life somewhere in Wyoming or Utah, if I recall correctly, and as a young man went to Milwaukee, where he has lived ever since. His memory is remarkable. He seems to know everyone in the hotel, restaurant and related businesses, from White House chefs, hotel owners and meat purveyors to cooks, dishwashers and busboys.
During our conversation the talk got around to dishes which used to be in high fashion but have faded with the times. We talked about how few really new dishes remain on menus and have a lasting popularity. Milt recalled a dish that wasn't familiar to me -- Maurice salad. A few days after his visit, I received an envelope addressed to me in Milt's characteristic hand, containing a recipe for Maurice salad.
The recipe was on a page torn from the Catering Industry Employee, a long-gone trade publication of the hotel and restaurant industry. As it turns out, the chef who invented this salad was P.A. Maurice, a Frenchman who ran the world-famous kitchens of the Netherland Plaza in New York City some 40 years ago. According to the article, Chef Maurice had received so many requests for the salad recipe (including a note from Mrs. Roosevelt in the White House) that the hotel had to mimeograph the recipe in order to fill requests.
Here is the recipe unchanged, except that I have adjusted the ingredients to make eight servings instead of one. The Maurice salad is substantial enough for a main luncheon course for company, or on a day when the whole family is together. MAURICE SALAD 1 head iceberg lettuce 2 cups julienne of cooked chicken breast 2 cups julienne of baked ham 2 small to medium tomatoes, 1 sliced then cut in julienne, the other cut into 8 wedges 1 tablespoon chopped pickle, preferably dill or kosher
Dressing: 1 cup mayonnaise 3 to 4 tablespoons vinegar 1/2 cup olive oil or corn oil 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce 2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped 1 tablespoon chopped chives, fresh or frozen
In a salad bowl, gently but thoroughly mix all salad ingredients except tomato wedges.
In a separate bowl, prepare dressing. Mix together mayonnaise, vinegar, oil and worcestershire sauce, then gently stir in chopped eggs and chives.
Spoon all dressing on salad and toss gently until salad ingredients are thoroughly coated. Refrigerate until well chilled, and serve on well-chilled dinner plates.
According to Chef Maurice. "Do not use leaves of lettuce to serve on, but serve it directly on the plate. Sprinkle with finely chopped chives (in addition to those in the dressing), garnish each plate with 1 tomato wedge, and if you wish add a sprig of parsley and one of the two wedges of hard-boiled egg." (If you add the wedges of hard-boiled egg, cook 4 eggs to start with, use 2 for the dressing and put 2 aside for the garnish.)