Re-creating classic Baltimore recipes: Marconi's chopped salad

Chef Sascha Wolhandler's cafe is known for its chopped salads. But before Sascha's, there was Maison Marconi.

The Baltimore Sun enlisted help from a handful of local chefs to re-create favorite menu items from beloved Baltimore establishments. This time, they added their own twists — substituting vinaigrette for mayonnaise, sous-viding rather than braising and adding garnishes for an extra pop. 

Chef Sascha Wolhandler's cafe in Mount Vernon is known for its chopped salads. But before Sascha's, there was Maison Marconi.

"Marconi's salad is iconic to Baltimore," Wolhandler said of the Saratoga Street mainstay that opened in 1920 and was beloved by the likes of H.L. Mencken. "[Many Baltimoreans] hold the Marconi's salad dear. They even chastise places that have tried to re-create it."

Wolhandler modernized the classic salad with a number of substitutions, including capers for anchovies, jicama for celery and Dijon shallot vinaigrette in place of mayonnaise. The original Marconi's salad is "nice and crunchy," Wolhandler said, while her version has a "lighter feel."

Original recipe

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.

Source: The Baltimore Sun's Recipe Finder

Sascha's Marconi's chopped salad

4 cups of mixed kale, mesclun, spinach and romaine
1/2 jicama, peeled and slivered
2 tablespoons capers
2 hard-boiled eggs
2 roma tomatoes, quartered
1/2 shallot, chopped
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup steamed edamame beans
Your favorite vinaigrette (she uses Dijon shallot vinaigrette)

Put all ingredients on a chopping board, except edamame. Chop the salad with a chef knife (or mezzaluna) until desired consistency achieved. Toss in vinaigrette. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Garnish with edamame.

Source: Sascha Wolhandler, Sascha's

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