From The Recipe Box: Chopped Salad

by kitchenarian on July 24, 2011

When I go to a restaurant, I always look forward to getting a salad. In a restaurant, the salads sound so exotic, not like the simple fare from home. They usually have multiple types of locally harvested “young” lettuces, fruits dried at their “peak” of flavor, “candied” nuts, exotic “hand shredded”cheeses and the dressings are either drizzled, reduced, or glazed and usually sound like a movie star’s name or far off destination. No wonder they cost as much as the steak!


I have a few salads that I make at home that involve spicing my own nuts and making my own croutons and, of course, making my own dressing. But, honestly, I’m not always up to that much of a commitment.

This salad is a recent creation that I have been tweaking for a while that goes together quickly and tastes quite delicious. The pancetta is salty, the cranberries are sweet and the blue cheese offers a robust flavor that keeps everything in balance. I had something similar to it in a restaurant a while back but the home version has morphed over time to the version here.

The dressing can be made ahead and kept in the refrigerator for about a week. Add spiced nuts if you like, or toss in some grilled chicken.

Dressing Ingredients:
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper (less if you prefer)
¼ cup red wine vinegar
½ cup canola oil
½ cup olive oil
salt to taste
½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Salad Ingredients:
(Approximate Measurements)
¼ pound of pancetta
1 cup of dried cranberries
8 ounces crumbled blue cheese
Iceburg lettuce – 1 head
Romaine lettuce – 2 bunches

Mix together the mustard, water, sugar, crushed red peppers together with the red wine vinegar. Slowly drizzle the canola oil into the red wine mixture while whisking. Once all of the canola oils is incorporated then add the olive oil slowly while whisking. Add a dash of salt (optional) and add the parmesan cheese to the dressing. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Saute the pancetta in a skillet until crispy. Set aside to drain. Chop your iceburg lettuce and romaine lettuce into small bite-size pieces and combine. Toss with the dressing. You will not use all of the dressing. Add dried cranberries, pancetta, and blue cheese. Gently toss again. Serve.

Kitchenarian Notes: I am going to be honest here. The only ingredients that I measure out are for the dressing. As far as the salad goes, use as much pancetta, cranberries and blue cheese as you like. These ingredients as listed above make one huge salad that would probably serve 6-8 with a meal. Often times at home, I make this salad in individual bowls for one or two people for dinner and just toss it together until it looks right.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

yummychunklet July 24, 2011 at 10:18 pm

Love chopped salad. This looks delicious!


Felice - All That's Left Are The Crumbs July 25, 2011 at 12:05 am

This looks great. I always order a salad when I am out because mine just don’t seem to measure up at home. I am going to have to try this soon because it has everything I love in a salad.


Liz July 25, 2011 at 7:02 am

Fabulous salad! I love all the components…yum!


Tara @ the pleased plate July 25, 2011 at 8:28 am

This looks like a great combination of ingredients and would give any restaurant a run for its money (while costing me a lot less!). 🙂


Dave Williams July 25, 2011 at 10:43 am

This is one of my regular favorites. You’ve finally perfected the dressing!


Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts July 25, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Great salad! The dressing sounds perfect! I love a good salad at home, they are just so hard to duplicate from the amazing restaurant ones!


Kelly July 25, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Oh this salad looks absolutely delicious! Wonderful pictures and the dressing sounds incredible! 🙂


Tiffany July 26, 2011 at 6:18 pm

Cranberries and blue cheese! Sigh! YUM! 😀


Happy When Not Hungry July 26, 2011 at 9:10 pm

This salad looks beautiful! Love the pancetta and dried cranberries too. Yum!


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