In honor of summer vacation, I am re-posting a blog I wrote about my late father’s famous chopped salad. I often get requests for this salad and enjoy any excuse to write about my dad who would have loved the Chappaqua Farmers Market and vendors like Larchmont Charcuterie and McGrath Cheese – both here tomorrow!
My very French father is the master of the very chopped salad. It is the one American dish this passionate French gastronome has embraced after 50 years of living stateside. He loves the pele mele nature of it: open the fridge, pull out anything that’s fresh and can be minced (including last night’s leftover ahi tuna or roast chicken or lamb roast) and start chopping. Don’t stop until you’ve got a cramp in your arm or Maman’s storied green salad bowl (a wedding gift) can’t possibly take one corn kernel, endive leaf or cucumber round.
Every time I go home to visit, there is a day designated for one of these salads which have always screamed “California” to me. When I pine for home they are a huge part of what I miss. There is no recipe for these “stream of consciousness” salads. They just happen while my mother and I are working in the garden or out running errands or visiting with a neighbor. He always presents them with a bit of flourish. My girls love ferreting out the ingredients one by one. The average ingredient count is about 14. I hope you will get inspired at the market tomorrow to make a Papie salad and let a little California into your kitchen.
At the Chappaqua Farmers Market you will find all the ingredients my father typically puts in his chopped salad – save for the avocado, of course.
Here is a short list to get you started:
sliced chicken breast
yellow and red peppers
golden and red beets (pickled or roasted)
And, speaking of fathers…please congratulate Tim Topi of Wave Hill Breads who became a first-time father last Wednesday. Baby Claire weighed in at 7.9 ounces, roughly two giant miche loaves. Congrats to Tim & Angela!
Make sure to get to the market early to grab bright summer rolls from VN To GO! Young chefs Yen and Linh get up at 4 am day of market to make 150 rolls and they usually sell out by 10:30.
See you at the market.
Pascale Le Draoulec
food writer/ farmer’s market director
author: “American Pie:Slices of Life (and Pie) from America’s Back Roads” (HarperCollins)