There’s a romantic kind of old-fashioned glamour to department store restaurants that I love. My mom used to take us to lunch at the restaurant in Ohrbach’s department store in Los Angeles for special occasions. I always got a lemonade and the tostada salad, basically a Mexican salad served in a huge flour tortilla that had been fried into the shape of a bowl. It was amazing to me—imagine, you could eat the bowl! Then Ken and I discovered Fred’s, the restaurant that used to be in the basement of Barneys department store in New York and is now on the top floor. Fred’s is a fabulous place to go on a Saturday afternoon to people watch and have a bite to eat, and while we don’t do it often, when we do, we share the Mark’s Madison Avenue Salad. It’s a chopped salad that seems to have almost everything you could want in it: finely chopped lettuce, miniature cubes of beets, lentils, tomatoes, white beans, peas, red onions, Italian tuna . . . it’s just a delicious mishmash of good things. We started making this salad in the summers for dinner. Then we started abridging it (skipping the tuna, replacing the beets with jarred pepper-oncini and so on) to have with a pizza. It’s more than just a green salad, but not so much work that it can’t be pulled together in less than 10 or 15 minutes. If you have an extra roasted beet, some leftover peas or corn, or anything else in the fridge, feel free to throw them in, too.

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Ingredients

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (optional)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 head radicchio, cut into very thin ribbons
  • 1 head endive, cut into very thin ribbons
  • 1 small head romaine lettuce, cut into very thin ribbons
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup quartered cherry or grape tomatoes (yellow and red)
  • ¼ cup finely chopped red onion (or to taste)
  • 6 pepperoncini, sliced into thin rings, or to taste
  • A chunk of Parmesan cheese

Method

In a small lidded jar or bottle, combine the oil, vinegar, and the lemon juice (or omit the lemon juice and increase the vinegar to 3 tablespoons). Season with salt and pepper. Seal and shake well to emulsify. Taste and adjust the oil, acid, or salt and pepper to suit your palate.

In a large bowl, combine the radicchio, endive, romaine, beans, tomatoes, onion, and pepperoncini. Drizzle the dressing over the salad, toss, and adjust seasonings. Use a vegetable peeler to slice wide curls of Parmesan into the salad before serving.

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