ANTIPASTO CHOPPED SALAD {recipe}

italian chopped salad
Recipe for Antipasto Chopped Salad first. Additional suggestions and personal notes follow.

ANTIPASTO CHOPPED SALAD {recipe}

You can present the salad composed in a large, shallow bowl, then drizzle with vinaigrette and gently toss at the table right before serving, or you can dress and toss all the ingredients first and serve in any large bowl. I prefer the composed presentation for obvious reasons, even if I’m presenting and serving this salad to no one else but myself.

serves 4 to 8 depending on serving size

Ingredients

ITALIAN VINAIGRETTE

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (juice from half a lemon)
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 medium cloves garlic, grated or very finely minced
½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1 cup mild olive oil

SALAD

½ small red onion, cut length-wise
1 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
1 head radicchio, thinly sliced
1 pint small cherry tomatoes any color, cut into halves, or quarters if the tomatoes are large
1 avocado, sliced
1 Persian cucumber, quartered lengthwise, then sliced cross-wise ¼-inch thick
½ cup marinated artichokes
½ cup castelveltrano olives
¼ cup peppadew peppers, thinly sliced into rings
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
¼ pound aged provolone cheese, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices, then cut into ¼-inch-wide strips
¼ pound Genoa salami, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices, then cut into ¼-inch-wide strips
freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste
dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Make the Vinaigrette: Whisk together the vinegar, oregano, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add the oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly to form an emulsified vinaigrette. Taste for seasoning, and adjust salt, pepper and lemon juice as needed.

Assemble the Salad: Slice onion length-wise (top-to-bottom) into paper-thin crescents. Soak the onion slices in a small bowl of cold water for about 10 minutes to take the spicy edge off. Drain water off.

Combine shredded lettuce, sliced radicchio, halved/quartered tomatoes, chickpeas, avocado, cucumber, marinated artichokes, olives, and peppadew peppers, and provolone, salami, pepperoncini and red onion in a large, wide bowl. Drizzle about ¼ cup of the vinaigrette over the ingredients in the bowl, then toss gently to combine and coat the vegetables. Taste for seasoning and adjust with additional vinaigrette, salt, and pepper.

Serve salad with extra dried oregano and vinaigrette.

You will have about 1 cup of vinaigrette left. Cover the leftover vinaigrette tightly and keep in refrigerator up to 3 days.

The salad, once dressed, does not keep well. Eat it all now.

italian-chopped-salad

NOTES and RESOURCES

  1. Dried Oregano: The dried oregano I use for this salad is the kind that is sold as dried whole stems tied together into a bundle and packaged in plastic bags. I found mine in the “shop” section of a favorite Italian restaurant near me, but you can also order different brands of dried oregano online. If you can’t get the Italian oregano on the stems, the crumbled dried oregano sold in small jars is fine!
  2. Mild Olive Oil: If you have one olive oil in your house, by all means use it. However, if you have a choice, use the olive oil with the mildest flavor, even one that is labeled “light.” Extra-virgin olive oil might be too expensive to use in a salad in which it will be competing with other fairly strong flavors (fresh garlic, raw onions, vinegar pickled vegetables, hot and spicy peppers).
  3. Casteleveltrano Olives are medium-sized, bright green olives that mild in taste. I buy mine from the Olive Bar at either Whole Foods Market or Bristol Farms. They are also sold in jars in the same aisle where regular olives and other pickled vegetables are. Substitute any favorite olive.
  4. Peppadew peppers are my ALL-TIME FAVORITE THING, sweet, tangy, spicy, round peppers about the size of a ping pong ball. Substitute peperoncini, which have about the same heat, but are not sweet.
  5. Chickpeas: I use this brand of organic canned chickpeas. If you are ambitious and want to cook chickpeas yourself, follow the method for soaking and cooking dried chickpeas in this here. You will make about double the amount of cooked chickpeas you need for this salad recipe. Make hummus with the rest.
  6. Provolone cheese is an Italian semi-hard cow’s milk cheese that is similar to mozzarella, though just a little bit stronger in flavor. I bought my provolone from the deli counter at Whole Foods Market, but it shouldn’t be hard to find in the refrigerated section or the deli of just about any regular grocery store. If you can’t find it, or prefer, mozzarella cheese is a good substitute. National brands like Sargento and organic brands like Organic Valley have packaged sliced provolone. This brand even sells a package with BOTH provolone cheese and salami together!
  7. Genoa salami is a generally non-spicy (heat) Italian-style dry salami. I bought mine from the deli counter at Bristol Farms, but you should be able to find it in packages in the refrigerated section or the deli case of most grocery stores. You can substitute any type of sliced salami for the Genoa. I have even used very thinly sliced pepperoni before.
  8. Without the provolone cheese and Genoa salami, the salad is plant-based, so if any of your guests are vegan, serve the cheese and salami on the side where they can’t see it.
  9. All fresh herbs and produce from either the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market on Wednesday, or Whole Foods Market when I can’t find what I need at the farmers’ market.
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