There are three of us Gorelick brothers. When it comes to mealtime, my older brother, Andy, and I are natural foragers. My younger brother, Gary, is the cook. He is one of those restaurant diners who seldom gets anything he thinks he can make better at home.
When mentioned to him I was working on a chopped salad story, he told me about the one that he and his wife, Bonnie (aka, "Sister Woman") have perfected in their Carroll County home. He sent me the accompanying photograph, and a narrative of their chopped-salad ritual.
Here's what he wrote:
The chopped salad is a ritual in my house. Bonnie and I both take part. She cleans all the vegetables and fruits and does the preliminary chopping (making everything about 1/4 inch square)– everything needs to get into about the same size before the mixing and final chopping happens.
This is our favorite ingredient mix usually includes the following. With bread and oil or hummus, this makes a main meal salad for two.
8 large leafs of red leaf lettuce
1 small carrot
1 small English cucumber
Some red onion – maybe a quarter of a small onion or two 1/4-inch slices of a large one
Half a Haas avocado
1 large tomato – we usually use a half a can of diced salt-free tomato during non tomato season
A small pile of leftover pasta – any kind
A handful (wash your hands) of feta cheese
A dozen seedless grapes, quartered for garnish
A little seasoning – we use a McCormick salad seasoning, but fresh herbs and a little salt and pepper would be great
The key is that the tomato, avocado and feta combine to form a dressing when the fine chopping and turning is performed.
Put all of your uniformly chopped ingredients (except the grapes) into a neat big pile – make it artistic.
Then you need a large chef’s knife and a regular dinner knife. Chop, chop, chop and turn, turn, turn to mix, mix, mix – they should call it a chop-and-turn salad. use the regular kitchen knife to scrape the chef knife off every few chops to ensure a proper mix. Go until the avocado/tomato and feta have come together to be a dressing.
You'll know you're done turning when the salad can stand on its own. You should be able to easily form the salad into blocks or patties. Spread the quartered grapes on top.
Serve with your favorite fresh bread and hummus.
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