La Scala Salad & Dressing
Here it is, the long awaited salad and dressing you have all been asking for. I’m hopelessly busy lately working full time at a client’s home in Malibu. The long drive from West Hollywood six days a week mixed with the volume of cooking has left me beyond exhausted at the end of each day, to the point where I’m actually sick in bed today. Which means I have some time to catch up on my website that has been neglected lately.
So here we are, the infamous La Scala salad. It is truly the best salad ever and I have been perfecting my copy cat recipe for years. When people miss the restaurant in Beverly Hills and want me to make it for them at home, I now officially feel confident I can. And this dressing tastes exactly the same!
Here’s a little history of the salad:
The La Scala chopped salad was first created in the 50s by Chef Jean Leon at La Scala in Beverly Hills. It was made of iceberg lettuce, salami, marinated chickpeas, and cheese.
Over the years, the salad has become a cult favorite and been praised by celebs such as Elizabeth Taylor and even JFK.
The original version is just the garbanzo beans (chickpeas), lettuce, cheese and salami. However, for extra you can add in diced tomatoes, cucumber, pepperoncinis and change the meat for a few different options. Among them, sliced Turkey. So I make mine with a little of everything and personally think it’s even better that way!
Here is my version of the recipe I hope you all enjoy.
This recipe makes enough for 4 people for an entrée salad.
You will need:
For the salad
2 heads iceberg lettuce, finely chopped
2 cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
3 regular organic tomatoes (I like the ones on the vine), finely diced
1 organic English cucumber, finely diced
1/2 jar pepperoncinis, finely diced
1 pack of Genoa salami, finely diced
1/4lb of sliced roasted Turkey, finely diced
6 organic mozzarella string cheese, finely diced
1 tbsp red wine vinegar and 1 tbsp olive oil (for marinating the garbanzo beans)
For the dressing
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tbsp Coleman’s mustard powder
1 tsp maldon flakey sea salt
1 tsp Italian seasoning
Some scrunches of black pepper
2/3 cup olive oil
The key to this salad is to finely dice absolutely everything. Mince it as finely as possible for the best recreation. It takes a while to really do this well but the smaller the better and closer to the original it will taste.
Always ALWAYS leave the garbanzo beans whole though.
Before we start we drain and wash the cans of chickpeas and pour over the red wine vinegar and olive oil with a little dash of maldon sea salt and a couple of scrunches of black pepper. Toss and then leave them to marinate while you chop the rest of the salad.
Finely dice all the ingredients and add them in with the chickpeas. I do the iceberg lettuce last because I don’t want it to get soggy. The fresh crunch is very important.
Toss the salad together and then start making the most important part, your dressing.
I start by adding the mustard powder in a bowl. According to an old LA Times article this is the secret to the taste and I would have to agree. So definitely make sure you get this and don’t use fresh dijon mustard.
Add in the red wine vinegar and whisk to dissolve the mustard powder. Next I add in the crushed garlic clove. Then slowly I start gently pouring in the olive oil whilst whisking vigorously to emulsify the dressing. To finish I whisk in the maldon sea salt and Italian seasoning and finish off with a couple of scrunches of black pepper.
Drizzle slowly over the salad and mix. Don’t over dress the salad, there will be some left over but it’s great to keep in the fridge for the week and add to other salads!
Voila! Enjoy your classic LA culinary masterpiece as lunch or a starter before for main dinner.