Chopped Salad

About the best Chopped Salad I ever had was at Cowboy Ciao that was once a culinary hot spot in Scottsdale, AZ. They added pecans, roasted pumpkin seeds and Israeli Couscous and tossed in a creamy green goddess styled dressing at the table.  I will emphasize the ingredients are interchangable and open for substition several times in this article.

This version takes many of the most basic components and leaves a lot for interpretation. With my Chopped Salad, I find it important to leave the dressing thin and omit the usual emulsification technique I use with most every other dressing. The idea here is to let the dressing run down into the lettuce and not cling to every crack and dent in the beautiful vegetables on top. I have included a pictorial guide to slicing vegetables after a conversation last week with a young person who was actually pretty terrified of cutting produce for a salad, I hope you find it helpful and not too remedial. Mix and match or substitute as you like. I will mention, the bitter Treviso contrasts the sweet corn and adding the salty bleu cheese with the acidity of the vinegar creates balance I think you will find incredible. I suppose this is pretty much a Cobb salad without bacon and eggs, go crazy if you like, those ingredients would certainly be welcome to join this stunning presentation that is as delicious as it is beautiful.  

For the Dressing

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

3 Tablespoons Minced Spring Shallot (or cured shallots or grated garlic)

1/2 cup olive oil

Marinate the shallots in the vinegar for at lease 20 minutes and stir in olive oil. Leave this on the counter while you assemble your vegetables.

For the Salad

1 Trevisio Radicchio

1 Little Gem Lettuce Head

Handful of Baby Arugula

1 Avocado

1/2 pint of cherry tomatoes

2 stalks celery

Handful of Sugar Snap Peas

1 ear of corn

1 small cucumber

1 small red onion (only using half)

Several Caperberries (mature capers)

2 oz crumbled blue cheese

Prep the vegetables and begin building your salad. Line the greens on the bottom and arrange the rest of the vegetables, cheese and caperberries on top of the greens. When it is time to serve, pour the dressing over and toss the whole salad at the table.

I roasted a half chicken for this post and served it on top once I had dressed and tossed the salad, some smoked salmon would be an excellent choice too.