Italian Chopped Salad • Hip Foodie Mom


Italian Chopped Salad! Zesty, salty and full of flavor, this is the easiest salad to throw together. Packed with salami, romaine lettuce, arugula, olives, pepperoncinis and more, this salad is so delicious! 

This salad was a result of having basically all of the ingredients and some leftover burrata  in my fridge. Here’s a little history, or what I could find online, about the Italian Chopped salad.  

The History of The Chopped Salad

According to Bon Appetit, “La Scala (restaurant in Beverly Hills, CA) was where the charismatic restaurateur Jean Leon fed his famous friends. The Jean Leon Original Chopped Salad (see ** Leon Salad**). Named for the restaurant’s original owner, it is believed—by some—to be the first salad of its kind. A mixture of iceberg lettuce leaves, salami, mozzarella, and marinated chickpeas. Natalie Wood is often credited with first having the idea to chop the restaurant’s “gourmet salad.” It’s an apocryphal story that drives Jean’s daughter Gigi Leon crazy. The reality, she says, is that “people were wearing evening gowns and tuxedos and complaining that the salad was messy and hard to eat, so my dad and the chef thought, why don’t we chop it?” It was a practical solution to a one percenter’s problem, and, while it may not have been the first salad to be diced to death, La Scala was the first to ink the words “chopped salad” on a restaurant’s menu. They still serve about 400 chops a day.”

“It was an addicting salad,” says Mozza’s Nancy Silverton, who started frequenting La Scala’s offshoot, La Scala Boutique, in the late 1970s. A mix of romaine, iceberg, salami, mozzarella, and chickpeas, shredded into near oblivion. “You were able to get a perfect, well distributed bite in every forkful,” she remembers. “It was the first time I understood the importance of a restaurant having something that is craveable—something that brought you back.” It was the first food Silverton requested after giving birth to her first child.”

From Saveur: Today the chopped salad is an emblem of LA’s penchant for sourcing locally and thinking globally. Clementine, a market-driven cafe in Century City, has a Spanish chopped salad of romaine and radicchio, -pimenton-marinated chickpeas, roasted red peppers, chorizo, and Mahon (a sharp cows’ milk cheese) tossed with sherry vinaigrette. At Ciudad, downtown, owners Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger offer a chopped salad featuring great big Cuzco corn kernels, plantain chips, calypso beans, and crumbled Cabrales (a Spanish blue cheese). One of my favorites, the chopped salad at Jar (see ** Jar Restaurant’s Chopped Salad**), a West Hollywood steak house, combines fresh cabbage, carrots, and fennel with olives, Italian prosciutto, and roast chicken.

Italian Chopped Salad

So, what started as a mixture of iceberg lettuce leaves, salami, mozzarella, and marinated chickpeas now has many different variations. I feel like the components vary from time to time; salami and mozzarella being the staples. And I’ve seen recipes move from Iceberg to romaine, or what I did: a mix of romaine and arugula. I just love that this salad has it all: tang/sour, salty, creamy, savory and a slight sweetness from the tomatoes. You can also add some heat with some spicy salami! Try this and let me know what you think!

I know the homemade croutons are not really meant to be in a chopped salad but I couldn’t help myself. 

Italian Chopped Salad

My version of a chopped salad

Prep Time10 mins

Cook Time15 mins

Total Time25 mins

Course: Main or Side

Cuisine: American

Keyword: chopped salad, italian chopped salad, salad

Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • Romaine lettuce* chopped
  • 1 handful fresh arugula chopped
  • fresh mozzarella or burrata mini balls or cubed
  • cherry tomatoes sliced in half
  • assorted bell peppers diced
  • pepperonchinis diced
  • olives chopped
  • salami sliced
  • canned chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • pickled red onions chopped

For the croutons:

  • any bread like Ciabatta cubed or torn
  • olive oil extra virgin
  • salt and pepper

For the dressing:

  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard + more if desired
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil extra virgin
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Chop and prep all of the salad ingredients. For the croutons: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place bread on a lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper and bake in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove and set aside.

  • For the dressing, whisk together the dijon mustard and red wine vinegar and while whisking, slowly pour in the olive oil until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Taste and adjust any ingredients as needed.

  • Combine all of the salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl, drizzle on the dressing and toss until well coated. Serve with the croutons and enjoy!

Notes

*Feel free to mix a combination of Romaine and iceberg lettuce if desired

Click here for the pickled red onions recipe.



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