Chopping with a good chef’s knife is one of the simple but solid pleasures of my adult life. It never lets me down. I don’t cut myself anymore, not like when I was first learning. I can drink wine, play tango music, talk trash, and form perfect little cubes, all at the same time. Now, there’s an accomplishment worth growing up for.
Here’s a dish where you get to do lots of chopping, which should be soothing. And it’s another of my low-carb recipes. I hope everyone is enjoying these as much as I am. They’re turning out to be a very good way to eat. I keep all the Italian flavors I love but ditch the unhealthy starch. Type 2 diabetes runs in my family, and I want nothing to do with it.
This is a roasted version of a chopped salad. I thought it would be nice for the cool evening nip that’s now in the air, or at least is around New Yorklandia.
Please let me know if there are any low-carb Italian-inspired dishes you’d like me to create recipes for. I’d be happy to do so.
Italian Chopped Salad for Early Fall
About 8 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into cubes
2 celery stalks, cut into large dice, plus the leaves from about 3 stalks, left whole
2 leeks, well cleaned, the white and the very lightest green part cut into large dice
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
A few gratings of nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper
A handful of frisée lettuce or chicory, torn into small pieces
A handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves, left whole
A few large sprigs of marjoram, the leaves left whole
A handful of black olives (Niçoise are nice for this)
A small chunk of soft, young caciocavallo cheese, cut into small cubes
A small chunk of soppressata, not too dry, skinned and cut into small cubes
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Put the tomatoes, celery, fennel, and leek on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and black pepper. Toss everything well with your fingers so it’s all well coated. Roast for about 10-12 minutes, just until the vegetables start to brown at the edges but still hold their shapes. Take the pan from the oven, and let it sit for a few minutes to cool.
In a small bowl, mix the lemon juice, garlic, and about 1½ tablespoons of olive oil with a little salt, black pepper, and nutmeg.
Put the frisée in a shallow salad bowl. Add all the roasted vegetables, the parsley, marjoram, celery leaves, olives, caciocavallo, and soppressata. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad. Toss. Serve right away.