Chopped Salad from La Scala

As seen on his BBC series, The Road to Mexico, in this recipe Rick Stein takes inspiration for his Chopped Salad from Californian institution, La Scala.

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I’m a great fan of the chopped salad. It’s all about the variety of the ingredients that you add and I like the way everything is a uniform size. And it’s pleasingly American – like chopped liver, it says what it is. La Scala in Beverly Hills is said to have been the originator of the chopped salad. Gigi Leon, whose family has owned the restaurant since it opened in 1956, explained to me that it was exactly what the stars that frequent the restaurant need – something light, healthy and easy to eat. I recall explaining to her that for the same reason the Queen doesn’t care for soup or pasta. What’s needed is food that won’t despoil a wonderful dress.

Serves 6


1 crisp iceberg lettuce, finely shredded
½ head romaine lettuce, finely shredded
120g Italian salami, cut into thin strips about 5cm long
200g fresh mozzarella, chopped
400g tin chickpeas, drained, rinsed and seasoned with ½ tsp salt
3 tomatoes, diced
15cm cucumber, diced
Small handful basil leaves, finely shredded
For the dressing:
60ml olive oil
15ml red wine vinegar
½ tsp mustard powder
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp sugar
12 turns black peppermill


Mix the salad ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix the dressing ingredients, add the dressing to the salad and toss well. Serve immediately.

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