Sunday, October 16, 2011

Nancy's Chopped Salad with Oregano Vinaigrette

I have a secret. Okay not so much a secret for the people who really know me. I have a cookbook obsession. I am sure that many of you can relate. They fill over three large bookcases throughout my house. I believe it is the photos that really grab me and then creating variations on the recipes within the pages of the beautiful photographs.

Last week a package was sitting on my desk in my office – it was from Amazon. I just knew that my long awaited cookbook had arrived. Amazon will often tease you with pre-ordering books that are due out in a month or two. This only prolongs the excitement of opening the brand new book and thumbing through the pages upon pages of stunning photos and delicious recipes.

The book I had long anticipated to own had finally arrived - “The Mozza Cookbook” from famed chef, restaurateur and cookbook author, Nancy Silverton. She along with Matt Molina and Carolynn Carreno authored the pages of this stunning book with terrific recipes from the famed Los Angeles eatery Osteria Mozza and Pizzeria. The restaurant is co-owned with Nancy by Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich. From the mozzarella bar at the restaurant to the infamous pizzas and pastas that you swear were overnighted straight from Italy, this is a destination dining location. It is on my bucket list for sure.

Nancy is very well know for her chopped salad that was first introduced to her at La Scala Boutique in the 70’s in Beverly Hills, which is now closed. However, Nancy has taken this salad on into the millennium at Mozza. Strong flavors of oregano is the key ingredient in this tasty and satisfying salad.

I encourage you to make the dressing a day prior, so the flavors develop and the dressing will envelop every surface of the salad’s ingredients. I used a mason jar for easy mixing – just simply shake.  I know that if you decide to purchase this book, you will not be disappointed and surely will find many foodie treasures you will make for years to come. The photos will amaze you and are mouthwatering. Enjoy!

Nancy’s Chopped Salad with Oregano Vinaigrette


Half of a small red onion (halved through the core)
1 small head iceberg lettuce
1 medium head radicchio
1 pint small sweet cherry tomatoes, halved
Kosher salt
1 1⁄2 cups garbanzo beans
4 ounces aged provolone, sliced 1⁄8-inch thick and cut into 1⁄4-inch-wide strips
4 ounces Genoa salami, sliced 1⁄8-inch thick and cut into 1⁄4-inch-wide strips
5 peperoncini, stems cut off and discarded, thinly sliced (about 1⁄4 cup)
1⁄2 cup oregano vinaigrette
Juice of 1⁄2 lemon, plus more to taste

Oregano vinaigrette

2 1⁄2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
2 garlic cloves, 1 smashed and 1 grated or minced
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1 1⁄2 cups extra-virgin olive oil


To prepare the salad:

Separate the layers of the onion, stack two or three layers on top of one another, and slice them lengthwise 1/16-inch thick. Repeat with the remaining onion layers. Place the onion slices in a small bowl of ice water and set them aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients for the salad. Drain the onion and pat dry with paper towels before adding them to the salad.

Cut the iceberg in half through the core. Remove and discard the outer leaves from the head and remove and discard the core. Separate the lettuce leaves, stack two or three leaves on top of one another, and slice them lengthwise 1/4-inch thick. Repeat with the remaining leaves and thinly slice the radicchio in the same way.

Cut the tomatoes in half, season them with salt, and toss gently to distribute the salt.

Combine the lettuce, radicchio, tomatoes, garbanzo, provolone, salami, peperoncini, and onion slices in a large, wide bowl. Season with salt and toss to thoroughly combine the ingredients. Drizzle 1/2 cup of the vinaigrette and squeeze the lemon juice over the salad, then toss gently to coat the salad with the dressing. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, lemon juice or vinaigrette if desired. Pile the salad on a large platter or divide it among individual plates, piling it like a mountain. Sprinkle the dried oregano on top and serve.

To make the oregano vinaigrette:

Combine the vinegar, oregano, lemon juice, smashed garlic, grated garlic, salt and pepper in a medium bowl and whisk to combine the ingredients. Set the vinaigrette aside to rest for 5 minutes to marinate the oregano. Add the olive oil in a slow, thin stream, whisking constantly to combine. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, pepper, or lemon juice, if desired. Use the vinaigrette or transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate it for up to three days. Bring the vinaigrette to room temperature, whisk to recombine the ingredients, and taste again for seasoning before using. Serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a main course.


  1. Delicious salad! I will definately try this one...

  2. This looks absolutely delicious - I love all of the healthy inclusions and those tomatoes are just beautiful!

  3. i really like your food pictures and want to invite you to try out it's for anyone that just wants another place to submit photos and share it will other foodies. It’s still in beta version, but would love for you to start adding some photos and help get it going.

  4. This is one of the prettiest and most delicious looking salads I have ever seen! And there are a LOT of salads out there! Lovely ingredients transferring to lovely photos. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Lisa, this is a wonderful looking salad! This is my first visit to your blog, so I spent some time browsing through your earlier posts. I'm so glad I did that. I really like the food and recipes you share with your readers and I enjoyed the time I spent here. I'll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  6. What a gorgeous salad. All of those ingredients sound fantastic together. I adore oregano dressings!

  7. Hi Lisa! I've been eyeballing The Mozza Cookbook on Amazon but haven't ordered it yet but this salad is making me want to add the cookbook to my collection. First I have to add a few more bookcases! I love chopped salads, this is really a meal in a salad with lots of protein and veggies. I also find the oregano dressing very appealing and would love to garnish the salad with a little fresh oregano from my garden;-)

  8. Lisa, that salad looks delish! I always want new recipes for salads that are meal into themselves and this one looks so different from any I've tried.
    By the way, do you ever eat at Camino in Oakland? First, I think you'd love their food. Second, they often do cookbook dinners that are fabulous - just a couple of weeks ago they had Nancy Silverton and a party for her new cookbook.

  9. Wow, your salad looks so delicious. The photo got me craving for it. Can I add vinegar to it?

  10. You did Mozza proud, Lisa! The salad looks as delicious as what they serve in the restaurant :)


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