Chopped Salad, with Italian Flavors

Here’s a fresh and flavor-packed salad that has just a hint of the spring season ahead.  This one adds protein, in the form of chick peas and hard salami.  Fresh greens are accented with tomatoes, onions, olives, and some Parmesan cheese.  A sharp, creamy dressing, seasoned with oregano, pulls together the Italian flavor influences.Toss in some fresh mint leaves and you will be so happy with the bright flavor they add to the salad.  I love to eat salad for lunch and this one, with its hearty additions of cured meat and chick peas, will get you through a busy afternoon without feeling hungry.  If you are transporting your salad, keep the dressing separate until you are ready to eat.  Then toss everything together, sit down in a quiet spot, and enjoy.

The oregano dressing mixes up quickly and easily, and will keep in the refrigerator for several days.  It is assertive (which you need for a sturdy salad of hearty ingredients), but you can adjust the vinegar/oil ratio to your taste.

Before asparagus, fava beans, peas, spring onions, little gems, morels, ramps, and all those other spring things start to compete for your attention, give this combo a try.  And enjoy your lunch!

Chopped Salad, with Italian Flavors

Prep time:
Total time:
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Serves: Makes 3 to 4 servings
A chopped salad of sturdy greens, chick peas, hard salami, tomatoes, onions, and olives. Garnished with fresh mint and Parmesan cheese, and dressed with an assertive, creamy oregano dressing, it makes a satisfying lunch entree.

Ingredients

  • For the Dressing:
  • 1 fat garlic clove, peeled and very finely minced
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano leaves
  • Kosher salt
  • For the salad:
  • 4 to 6 ounces of chopped salad greens, such as romaine, spinach, butter lettuce, radicchio
  • A handful of fresh mint leaves, roughly torn into bite-size pieces
  • 4 ounces of cherry or Campari tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
  • ⅔ cup chick peas (garbanzos), drained and rinsed, if canned
  • 4 slices (1½ to 2 ounces) hard salami, cut in julienne strips
  • ⅓ cup small, ripe olives
  • ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
  • Thin shards Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Put the minced garlic in a small bowl, add the vinegar, and a large pinch of salt. Whisk in the mayonnaise, then slowly add the olive oil, whisking all the while. Taste the dressing and add salt to taste, then stir in the dried oregano. Set aside while you prepare the salad.
  2. In a large salad bowl, mix together the greens, mint leaves, tomatoes, chick peas, salami, olives, and sliced onion. Give the dressing a quick stir and taste for salt and acid. Adjust the balance of flavors to your personal taste, if necessary. Drizzle on about half the dressing and toss the salad. Taste again, and add additional dressing if needed. Scatter the Parmesan shavings atop the salad and serve immediately. Leftover dressing can be kept in a tightly covered container, in the refrigerator, for up to 5 days.