Back in the 50s, Chef Jean Leon served a popular chopped salad at La Scala Boutique in Beverly Hills. The classic dish combined two kinds of lettuce, salami, chickpeas, and cheese.
The Celebrity Salad
Over the years, the salad has been nibbled on by movie stars such as Elizabeth Taylor, Julia Roberts, and Leonardo DiCaprio, as well as JFK. La Scala still features the original version ($9.50 for a half; $12.50 for a whole), but also offers alternatives that substitute tuna, turkey, or chicken for the salami. Some food bloggers have further jazzed up the recipe with avocados and cherry tomato halves.
The recipe below is the one published in the LA Times many years ago. The secret ingredient in the vinaigrette dressing was purported to be the dry mustard. According to Chef Leon’s daughter, the original was hard to eat so the salad was chopped into small bite-size pieces. Pull out your mezzaluna and get to rockin’. This one’s a keeper.
The Original La Scala Chopped Salad
Ingredients: (Serves 6)
- 2 heads of lettuce, finely chopped, romaine and iceberg
- 1/4 lb. salami julienne
- 1/4 lb. Mozzarella, shredded
- 1-15-oz. can garbanzo beans, drained
- 1/4 cup oil
- 2 Tbs. wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, pressed
- 1 tsp. dry mustard
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Chop all ingredients, but leave garbanzos whole. (Romaine lettuce gives flavor while iceberg imparts crunch.) Toss all together and dress with vinaigrette.
(Post updated from July 2015)