Earlier this month, I saw a chopped salad recipe post on Smitten Kitchen. I flashed back to my first taste of what basically amounts to a bread-less Italian sub - my college-era waitressing job at California Pizza Kitchen.
I remember being initially gobsmacked - deli meat in a salad!? What a genius idea! I've eaten multiple iterations of this classic over the years and Deb's recipe inspired me to make one myself. Here's what I used:
1 head of radicchio (about the size of a baseball)
1 romaine heart
1 can Goya low sodium chickpeas
5-6 pieces of salami (they were small)
2 slices provolone cheese
5 orange peppadew peppers
1/3 lb green beans (eyeballed - I bought a 0.66 lb box by weight and used half)
10 sweet 100s quartered and de-seeded
(I ended up not using the avocado that's pictured)
As far as salads go, this one actually took awhile to prepare because I so thinly sliced as much as I could. I cut the radicchio and romaine slaw style and I loved the long, skinny pieces. Everything but the chickpeas went under the knife.
I went closely with SK's dressing recipe, but for the first time in my life I cut down the garlic.
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons oregano
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper
In her recipe, she directs you to grind the garlic and oregano together into a paste-like consistency. Mushing the garlic and oregano together seemed useless, but I went for it and it ended up being genius. You know how you make a sauce or a dressing and it's better as time passes? The best example of this is, of course, the widely accepted law of physics that Cole Slaw Is Better The Next Day. Somehow, grinding the two flavors together tasted as if I'd let them marry for a day or so in the fridge. I have to try this technique with other dressings I'll make this summer.
So colorful! I mixed everything but dressing in my huge wooden salad bowl and realized that I would not be eating the entire thing myself. I served about 1/3 of it into a serving bowl and dressed it there. Yes, I prefer to eat salads in MASSIVE bowls so I can toss everything together.
This is a hit - totally worth the prep time. It's crunchy, it's got zing from the hot peppers and the raw garlic, it has perfect salty bites from the cheese and salami. I think my favorite addition was the sliced green beans - a nod to the Niçoise salad, yes, but they brought such a crisp, sweet texture to the mix that could not be beat. I kept the remaining 2/3 of the un-dressed salad in a Ziploc. Two nights later, I tossed it up with the remaining dressing and it was still as crunchy and delicious, but with the added bonus of Second Day Cole Slaw deliciousness!