Joann Levin of Baltimore was looking for the recipe for the chopped salad that was served at the now-closed Maison Marconi restaurant in downtown Baltimore. Marconi's, which opened in 1920, was an institution in Baltimore famous for its Old World charm. It was favorite dining spot of such notables as H.L. Mencken.
Marconi's endured for years until the early 2000s, when it was purchased by Orioles owner Peter Angelos, immediately redecorated and then shut down.
The restaurant and some of its signature dishes remain near and dear to many, as indicated by the number of requests I continue to receive for some of its most famous recipes. Unfortunately, the restaurant never produced a cookbook or officially shared any recipes. However, over the years, I have come across a number of copycat recipes for some of their most popular dishes.
I ran a recipe in this column several years ago for a reasonable facsimile of the Marconi's chopped salad that Mike Flynn from Timonium sent in. He told me that he developed it from his memory of the salad served at the restaurant. Recently, I came across another similar take on the Marconi chopped salad on food.com. The contributor (referred to only as Andi of Longmeadow Farm in northwestern Maryland) had seen Flynn's recipe in this column in 2009 then put together her own version.
Feel free to add or subtract any ingredients to suit your personal taste. The salad tastes best if all your ingredients, and even your salad bowl, are nice and cold. So get chopping; you, too, can re-create the taste of this lost treasure of a restaurant and a time gone by.
Linda Terlizzi of Hanover, Pa., would love to have the recipe for the peach cake that was made at the New Systems Bakery on 36th Street in Hampden. The bakery closed about 10 years ago, and she has yet to find a peach cake recipe to equal it.
Jan Griffin of Cary, N.C., is looking for the recipe for the spice cake/log that A&P stores made and sold many years ago.
If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request, write to Julie Rothman, Recipe Finder, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you send in more than one recipe, please put each on a separate piece of paper and be sure to include your name, address and daytime phone number. Important: Name and hometown must accompany recipes in order to be published. Please list the ingredients in order of use, and note the number of servings each recipe makes. Please type or print contributions. Letter and recipes may be edited for clarity.
(Inspired by Maison Marconi)
Makes 4-6 servings
1 medium head iceberg lettuce, torn
2 hard-boiled eggs, quartered
1 large tomato (roma or plum tomato)
1 (2-ounce) can anchovies packed in oil, drained and chopped (optional)
1/2 small onion, chopped finely
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise (low-fat can be used)
1/4 cup sweet peas (fresh or frozen; optional)
Chill all the fresh ingredients, except for tomato.
After chilling, mix lettuce through pepper ingredients in a large chilled salad bowl. Add mayonnaise to salad bowl and toss completely.
Using two knives, chop salad thoroughly.
Add peas, if desired.
Plate on individual salad plates with crackers for scooping.