Nancy’s Chopped Salad

imageMy husband and I have been going to La Pizzeria Mozza for years. When Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich, and Nancy Silverton team up you know the food is going to be good. This restaurant has one of the best pizzas in the Los Angeles area, and we’re picky about pizza. But I digress. This post isn’t about the pizza, nor is it about Mozza (which you should really try if you’re in the area). This post about one of our favorite salads on the menu: Nancy’s Chopped Salad.

I made a few changes to the original recipe that can be seen below. This isn’t because the original isn’t perfect (it is – I won’t try to compete with Nancy Silverton), but I usually omit the salami and peperocinis as a personal preference. Today I also used romain lettuce rather than iceberg, solely because I had some on hand. We consider this a meal salad since you get plenty of protein from the ceci (chickpeas) and provolone cheese. This dish is well-balanced with pops of sweet cherry tomato, crunchy lettuce, bitter radicchio, paper-thin red onion, and a fresh oregano lemon vinaigrette. Here is the recipe, adapted from the Mozza Cookbook. A point I’d like to reiterate in case I haven’t made myself clear: the food is really good at Mozza and equally delicious in the book. I highly recommend purchasing the book. Ours has gotten a lot of love and splatter marks.

Nancy’s Chopped Salad

Oregano Dressing
4 cloves garlic
2 tbsp dried oregano
2 tsp salt
Fresh ground black pepper
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salad and Assembly
1 1/2 cups cooked ceci (chickpeas)
1 small red onion sliced paper-thin
1/2 pound provolone sliced into 1/4″ ribbons
1 pint cherry tomatoes
Salt, to taste
1 head iceberg lettuce sliced into 1/4″ ribbons
1 head radicchio sliced into 1/4″ ribbons

1. Make the dressing – Roughly chop the garlic. Add the oregano, salt, and pepper. Use mortar and pestle to make a grainy herb paste. Transfer paste into a bowl and add lemon juice and vinegar. Set aside for 10 minutes to let the oregano marinate. Whisk in the oil. The dressing should be thick with plenty of oregano.

2. Soak the red onions in a bowl of cold water for 10 minutes. Drain.

3. Fold the chickpeas, red onion, provolone, lettuce, and radicchio together. Halve the tomatoes and season with a pinch of salt and add to the rest of the salad.

4. Gently toss salad with dressing, adding a little bit at a time. You will likely have leftover dressing, so be careful not to add too much. Correct seasonings as needed and garnish with additional oregano.

Serves 4 -6 people 

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