You know you love your great aunt's banana bread, but you probably don't know why you do. In Modern Comfort, Ashley Rodriguez from Not Without Salt figures out what makes our favorite classics work, and then makes them even better.
Today: What should you do for tonight's dinner? We suggest buying all those verdant market ingredients, chopping them into bite-sized pieces, and making your own chopped salad bar.
Spring is quite possibly salad’s best season. Salad greens adore the still-cool air. Their ruffled leaves soak up the mellow sun just enough to make them buttery-tender and softly sweet. Fresh herbs are among the first thing to populate the spring garden, followed shortly by peas. Add to that a few pantry staples like garbanzo beans and pepitas, and you have just the sort of salad that gets repeated around here.
The idea of a chopped salad is that everything is cut roughly about the same size— all of it rather small—so that you can practically eat it with a spoon. Beyond the chopping, I don’t have many rules for this recipe. In fact, you should use this recipe only as a rough guide. The beauty of this dish is that it’s the sort of meal that does a great job of using up the leftover bits in the fridge. That’s actually how this salad got its start. I will say, however, that in mine there’s always salami (specifically finocchiona), sharp cheddar, and a bright, shallot-laced vinaigrette that brings it all together.
Serves 4 to 6
For the salad:
5 to 6 cups cut, cleaned greens (I use romaine & Treviso), cut into 1-inch ribbons
1 cup blanched fresh (or frozen) peas
1 cup chopped fresh herbs (I use a mix of chives, mint, parsley)
4 to 5 radishes, finely chopped
1/2 avocado, diced
1 cup garbanzo beans
1 cup chopped sharp cheddar
1 cup chopped salami, such as finocchiona
1/4 cup toasted pepitas
For the shallot and apple cider vinaigrette:
6 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1 pinch sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste
Photos by Ashley Rodriguez