Chopped salads seem to be popular today in a number of restaurants. In reality, they are nothing more than a fairly standard salad with the components chopped into tiny bite-size pieces. That may not sound like much, but it really does have a significant impact on the taste and texture of the salad. With the smaller size of the salad ingredients, each bite will contain a wider variety of flavors. Try it. It is easy, and it does taste good. As a starting point, Chopped Salad has a number of interesting recipes. One of my favorite chopped salads is the Chopped Greek Salad with Shallot Vinaigrette, by Polo Dobkin and Cal Elliott. The dill and the endive add a nice taste and texture to the salad, and the white balsamic shallot vinaigrette is outstanding. I like to make it with a pear infused white balsamic vinegar. Also a simple olive oil vinaigrette works great as well.
(Serves 6 to 8)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon red balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon dijon mustard
pinch of dried oregano
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3/4 to 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
2 or 3 Belgian endives, cut in half, cored and coarsely chopped
2 small heads of radicchio, coarsely chopped
a mixture of arugula, and mache lettuce or your favorite salad greens, (approximately 3/4 lb.) coarsely chopped
1 English cucumber, peeled, cut in half, seeded and cut into large dice
1 pound of grape tomatoes cut in half, or other fresh ripe tomatoes, cored,cut in half, and seeded, and cut into one inch pieces.
1 fennel bulb, cored, sliced and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup coarsely chopped dill
1/2 to 3/4 cup of pitted Kalamata olives cut in half
1/4 to 1/2 cup of crumbled feta cheese, or
soft young goat cheese
Wisk the vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper together in a bowl. Wisk in the oil in a thin stream and continue to wisk until the vinaigrette is emulsified. You may not need all of the oil. (I generally use a mixture of 2 or 3 parts oil to vinegar. But taste it as you are wisking, and pick the ratio that appeals to you). You can also mix the dressing in a blender or small food processor.
Mix the remaining ingredients for the salad together in another bowl and slowly add the vinaigrette until salad tastes right to you.