Get Cooking: Chopped salads

The chopped salad — typically, but not exclusively, a mix of vegetables chopped up into uniform size and mixed together — is close to perfect summer fare.

The preparations of few, if any, chopped salads call for the heat of the stove or oven; they’re easily assembled ahead of time, are best at room or “patio” temperature (or even cooler), and allow cooks to select the best and ripest from their summer’s garden.

Even the zucchini.

Chopped salads also let us hone our kitchen knife skills. What makes a chopped salad not only delicious, but also — and perhaps more important — aesthetically attractive is the evenness of the dice or chop of its ingredients.

Variations on chopped salad are close to infinite. In addition to today’s recipe from Gerard Rudofsky, a great Denver “zayde” (grandfather in Yiddish), try these chopped salads:

Greek: tomato, cucumber, red onion, feta cheese, romaine lettuce, kalamata olive, dressed in olive oil, oregano and lemon juice
Indian: leftover cooked tandoori chicken, tomato, cilantro, romaine lettuce, English cucumber, cooked chickpea, dressed in olive oil and red wine vinegar with minced cilantro
French: cooked Yukon Gold potato, well-blanched green bean, romaine lettuce, hard-cooked egg, English cucumber, nicoise olive, radish, tuna canned in olive oil, dressed in French-style vinaigrette
“Chef’s”: iceberg lettuce, hard-cooked egg, cooked turkey breast, cooked chickpea, Swiss cheese, with Thousand Island dressing
“Cobb”: romaine lettuce, cooked bacon, cooked chicken breast, hard-cooked egg, tomato, avocado, blue cheese, with various dressings possible
Chicago-style “garbage”: romaine and iceberg lettuces, cucumber, radish, red bell pepper (fire-roasted or raw), celery, cherry tomato, red onion, provolone cheese, salami, cooked chickpeas, kalamata olive, garlic crouton, grated parmesan cheese, with various dressings possible
Jicama, pepperoncini, sun-dried tomato, basil, with various dressings possible
Carrot, red cabbage, red apple (all shredded), dressed in light vegetable oil, cider vinegar and sunflower seeds
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Zaidy’s Israeli Chopped Salad

From Gerard Rudofsky, Zaidy’s Deli, Cherry Creek, Denver; serves 4

Ingredients

For the dressing:

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice

For the hummus:

16 ounce can garbanzo beans, drained
1/8 cup olive oil
1/8 cup water
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon tahini (sesame seed paste)

For the salad:

2 ripe tomatoes, diced
4 radishes, diced
1/2 cucumber, peeled but with small amount of peel remaining, diced
1/2 bunch scallions (green onions), diced

Make the dressing: blend all ingredients; set aside. Make the hummus: in a food processor, grind all ingredients into a stiff paste. Make the

Source:: The Denver Post – Lifestyle

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