Sunday, August 7, 2011

8-7-2011 Maggiano's Chop Salad

At this point, I'm sure you have been able to deduce that I am a salad freak. I love my salads! One of my all time favorites, is the chop salad from Maggiano's. Think: chopped lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, blue cheese, and a yummy vinaigrette.

I never attempted to recreate this recipe at home because I thought it would be impossible. But, after I found a copycat recipe online, I decided to give it a shot. I was skeptical it would taste like the real deal. I was shocked, it was spot on!

Here's how you can make this delish salad at your house too:

Maggiano's Chop Salad

1/2 head iceberg lettuce, chopped in 1/2 inch pieces
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped in 1/2 inch pieces
2 Roma tomatoes, 1/2 inch diced (can also use a regular tomato)
1 recipe of Vinaigrette Dressing
1/2 C. blue cheese (optional, omit for a meat meal or if you don't like blue cheese, you could use any cheese)
1-2 avocados, diced

In a large salad bowl, place the lettuces, and tomatoes. Pour on some of the salad dressing and toss, add more dressing if necessary. Sprinkle on the blue cheese, and avocado. Serve. I like to put fresh cracked pepper on mine before I serve it.

Vinaigrette Dressing

1 1/2 t. dried mustard powder, I prefer Coleman's
2 T. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/2 freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 t. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 t. dried oregano
3/4 C. vegetable oil
1/4 C. olive oil
1/4 C. water
2 T. red wine vinegar
1/4 C. white vinegar
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
3 green onion green part only, finely sliced

Place all of the above ingredients into a jar with a lid. Screw on the lid, and shake until emulsified. Can be made in advance, and stored in the refrigerator.


3 Very Important Salad Making Tips:


Wash each leaf of lettuce separately under running water. Shake off the excess water. Cut the lettuce for your salad and wrap the lettuce tightly inside a clean dish cloth.  Place the dish cloth with lettuce into the salad bowl you are going to use, and place that into the refrigerator until you will be ready to serve the salad.  This will make your lettuce perfect, dry, chilled, and crisp.

An easy way to wrap the lettuce, is to cover the inside of your salad bowl with a large clean dish cloth. Place the lettuce into the bowl, on top of the towel. Then bring together the sides of the dish cloth to tightly wrap. I then turn this "ball" upside down. That way, when I am ready to use the lettuce, all I do is pull off the dish towel.


Start by pouring some of the dressing over the salad and tossing it. You can then add more if necessary. It is always better to have to add more, than having too much and having a soggy salad.
P.S. This tip is also good for people who are watching their weight, and don't want extra calories and fat.


Along the same soggy salad lines above, I always wait until the last possible second to pour the dressing on, I make every component of the salad ready and waiting in the fridge.
Yes, there are a couple of salads that are good when they have been sitting in dressing for a while (like Hoffbrau), but the vast majority are just plain gross if dressed to early.


I hope you had a good weekend.

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