Mama's Italian Chopped Salad

Mother's Best by Lisa Schroeder with Danielle Centoni;TauntonPress(2009)Photographsby Ellen Silverman

Mama's Italian Chopped Salad

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    Ingredients

    1 (9-ounce) head romaine lettuce, sliced crosswise into very thin strips, washed, and dried (about 6 cups) 1/4 pound Genoa salami, sliced into 1/8-inch-thick matchsticks (about 1 cup)
    1 cup drained and rinsed canned garbanzo beans (chickpeas) 1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh basil (Love Note 2)
    1 cup pitted whole Nioise or Kalamata olives or sliced canned black olives 1/4 cup Mother's Greek/Italian Dressing (see link in recipe below)
    1 medium tomato, cored and cut into 1/4-inch dice Kosher salt
    1 medium red onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup) Freshly ground black pepper
    1/4 pound provolone cheese, sliced into 1/8-inch-thick matchsticks (about 1 cup)

    directions

    Prep: 5 min Total: 15 min (Quick)
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    • 1

      In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, garbanzo beans, olives, tomatoes, onions, provolone, salami, and basil.

    • 2

      Pour half of the dressing over the salad to moisten it. Mix gently, adding more dressing if necessary to make the salad moist but not soaked. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and serve.

    • 3

      Love Notes: An 8-inch chef’s knife is probably the most useful cooking tool you’ll ever own—but only if you keep it sharp. A sharp knife makes slicing and dicing faster and easier. Dull knives, on the other hand, require more effort to use, which also makes it easier to slip and cut yourself.

    • 4

      You don’t need to spend tons of money on a big knife set. Get an 8-inch chef’s knife for all-purpose work, a paring knife for detail work like coring and peeling, and a serrated knife to cut through things like bread and tomatoes without squishing them. Sharpen your knives at least once a year and hone the straight-edged knives each time you use them.

    • 5

      If you want to sharpen them yourself, I recommend a Chef’s Choice® knife sharpener, which is reliable and idiot-proof, so won’t ruin your knives. You can also get your knives professionally sharpened at many cookware stores or hardware stores.

    • 6

      Tender leaves like basil, spinach, and sage are hard to slice because they’re so thin and bruise easily, which causes them to darken unappealingly. The best technique for thinly cutting these types of leaves is called “chiffonade.” Stack 4 leaves, roll them up lengthwise like a jellyroll, and use a sharp knife to cut paper-thin slices across the roll. You can use this technique for any leafy herbs or lettuces that need to be very thinly sliced.

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