The Hubs and I were married one year ago today. One of the awesome parts of our wedding reception (there were many, but this was a good one) was the fact that the hotel's Ten Restaurant catered the meal. To me the most important thing on that wedding menu, with no argument from the husband-type man, was to serve their signature chopped salad for our first course. I am a sucker for a chopped salad anyway, but this one is truly amazing! It's like a beefed up BLT, in salad form: lots of juicy tomatoes and bacon and blue cheese, plus chicken and green onions and the biggest surprise of all, pasta. And nothing is more appropriate as a dressing as the mustard vinaigrette it's tossed in - it's flavorful but doesn't take away from the ingredients in the least.
I love love love this salad. It is and always has been my most favorite thing on the restaurant's menu. I love it so much, in fact, that I weaseled the recipe out of a friend years ago. I make it frequently for dinner and can attest to the fact that even in leftovers form, wilted greens and all, it's absolutely delicious
And now, in celebration of this fine occasion, I spread the love along to my dear readers. Give this one a try, you will not be disappointed.
Ten Restaurant's Signature Chopped Salad
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, rinsed and drained
2 romaine hearts, rinsed and drained
2 baked chicken breasts (approx. 2 cups cubed chicken breast meat)
6 bacon strips, fried and crumbled
1 c. diced tomatoes
1 c. cooked ditalini*
1/2 c. green onions, chopped
4 oz. blue cheese crumbles
For the mustard vinaigrette:
1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. water
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 to 2 Tbsp. sugar, to taste
1/2 tsp. kosher salt, or to taste
1/2 c. salad oil
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Pinch of coarsely crushed black pepper
Chop the iceberg lettuce and romaine hearts and place them in a large salad bowl. Add the cubed chicken, crumbled bacon, tomato, ditalini, green onions and blue cheese crumbles.
For the mustard vinaigrette: In a small bowl, combine the vinegars, water, garlic, dry mustard, sugar and salt and whisk until blended. Pour in the oils slowly, whisking constantly until the mixture is emulsified. Whisk in the oregano, red pepper flakes and black pepper.
Pour as much of the Mustard Vinaigrette as desired over the salad. Toss to coat. Makes 4 main course salad meals, or 8 side salads.
*ditalini = very small, short tubes of macaroni. You can find it with other died pastas at the grocery store. If I'm out (which I happened to be the last time I made this salad, as witnessed in the pics) I will just use any tube-shaped pasta I have on hand. Just give it a rough chop before tossing into the salad.