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Chopped Salad

A while back, my friend Amelia wrote about this chopped salad [1] which comes from the Mozza Cookbook [2] by Nancy Silverton (and Matt Molina and Carolynn Carreno!). I had been eying the same recipe. As is often the case in these circumstances, I lost interest after reading Amelia’s post. Not because she made the salad seem bad, because, well, blogging is just weird—this sort of thing happens. But time passed and spring hit the horizon. All I want are fresh fruits and vegetables but I do not have them yet and I thought of this salad again. And I made it. And it is great and you should make it too. I agree with Amelia that you should make the chickpeas (ceci) as described, they are worth the effort. But I also think the whole salad is worth the effort. Chopped salads are among my favorites. It is a delicious meal, and we were able to get four hearty servings out of it.

Chopped salads and death do not go that well together, but I am super bummed about Roger Ebert’s death. I didn’t personally know Ebert, though we did live in the same neighborhood for a while. I would sometimes see him and his wife out for an evening stroll. This was long before any illness. You would recognize his familiar voice in the dark before making out his face. I don’t know what it is like where you are, but Chicago felt so very sad yesterday afternoon. He was loved by his fellow citizens.

My friend Katie [3] owns a copy of I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie [4] which is a collection of Ebert’s best negative film reviews. We would crack each other up reading parts of it aloud. His review of Anna and the King [5] remains my favorite.

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You can get the chopped salad recipe [1] over at Amelia’s (or better yet, buy the book which is fantastic). One of my favorite things about Nancy Silverton is how controlling she is about salads. You’ll see when you read the recipe. She tells you EXACTLY what to do. But she is also always right, so just listen to her. Except I am now going to tell all of the ways in which I didn’t listen to her. Oh, I don’t know. I wanted more onion, which I almost always do, so I nearly doubled it—same with pepponcini. I cut the provolone into cubes rather than strips, I like cubes in chopped salads. And I used a Milano salami from Creminelli, which is basically the same as a Genoa. So, minor adjustments, but I listened to most of what she told me to do. Also, the ceci recipe is really special and what you don’t use in the salad you’ll find plenty of reasons to eat.