Saturday, August 13, 2011

My Comfort Food

I've had a bit of a summer cold these last couple of days, so I decided to make one of my favorite dinners last night.....the Chopped Salad (aka Leon Salad) from La Scala, which was created in the late 50's.  I was introduced to La Scala in the early 90's by a friend of mine while I was at UCLA.  She was an LA native, and had been going there for years.  We usually visited the Brentwood location (the original is in Beverly Hills), and in all the times that we went, I don't know that I ever ordered anything other than the chopped salad.  At the restaurant you can add all sorts of things to your salad.....chopped turkey, grilled chicken, tuna, bacon, cucumbers.....etc......  But I always stuck with the original, with tomatoes.

When I met the hubby a little later (he was at UCLA too), I quickly introduced him to the chopped salad. In fact, there was a point where I think he was about to go crazy due to the number of times in one week I would request that we go get chopped salads!  Luckily, he stuck with me.....and when we moved out of the westside of LA, I started trying to recreate the salad at home.  I finally found a cookbook from the LA Times that had the recipe printed, including the dressing (the one part I couldn't figure out at home).

The salad will get you to practice your knife skills......I find it a lot of fun chopping up stuff......but if you're not big on that, then just do the non-chopped'll still taste great!  When you go to the restaurant you'll see the salad chefs at work.....they throwdown a ton of lettuce on a chopping board and got at it with two knives at the same time.  It's quite a thing to watch.  It's what really made me want to practice my knife skills at home.

Well, the salad did make me feel better......give it a try!

Leon Salad
Yield: 6 servings (but the hubby and I can usually devour this by ourselves)

1 head iceberg lettuce, finely chopped
1 head romaine, finely chopped
4 ounces Italian salami, julienned
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 can (15 1/2 ounces) garbanzo beans, drained
3 roma tomatoes, chopped

Leon Dressing:
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Combine lettuces, salami, cheese and beans in salad bowl.  Toss with Leon Dressing.

Leon Dressing:
Combine oil, vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper and Parmesan and whisk to blend well.  Makes about 1/2 cup.


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  1. This looks delicious! I can't wait to try it. Thanks so much for sharing.

  2. Hi Kristen,
    What a great looking salad, it would be so good. Hope you have a great week end and thanks for sharing with Full Plate Thursday!
    Come back soon,
    Miz Helen

  3. YUM! I love salads!!! I'll have to try this. I posted two new salad recipes last week that I love!!