If you have ever been to Arizona and you haven’t eaten at Citizen Public House, shame on you. Tucked away in an unassuming strip mall in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale is one of the best restaurants in the city, famous for its laid-back elegance, world-class American cuisine and craft cocktails, and you guessed it, their chopped salad.
The lore behind the Original Chopped Salad is similar to that of other iconic culinary delights in that it’s difficult to track down its true origins. I believe, though, that the salad originated at the now-closed Cowboy Ciao, but the recipe was taken with the chef who created it over to Citizen Public House, which along with its sister restaurant, The Gladly, are now the only places where you can buy the famous salad.
Unless that is, you make it at home. If you’re reading this and you haven’t eaten this salad before, you may be wondering what’s so spectacular about it and if it’s worth trying to make at home. Oh, you poor soul. I forgive you for your naivete. The only way I can describe this salad to you is to say that it’s the perfect mix of sweet, salty, tangy, herbaceous, creamy, and light and it is both perfectly chewy and crunchy. It’s the kind of salad that primitive cultures would say was only fit for the palates of the gods. Every bite is heaven, it is so perfectly distinctive and satisfying. There’s just nothing like it.
You may also be wondering whether or not it’s worth trying to track down the ingredients, but they are not actually that difficult to find. Most of the ingredients are available at your local grocery store, but if you have trouble finding them, they can also be found in most natural food stores, specialty grocery stores, or online. I once made this salad in a small town in Indiana with a population of 490, so if it could be done there, it can be done just about anywhere.
So what’s in this remarkable salad? Check out the recipe below and prepare to have your mind (and taste buds) blown, but like, in a good way.
The Original Chopped Salad
- 1 cup Israeli (pearled) couscous
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh basil chiffonade
- 1 tbsp good balsamic vinegar
- 2 cups arugula coarsly chopped
- 1 cup freeze-dried corn
- 1 cup smoked salmon chopped
- 1/3 cup pepitas roasted/salted
- 1/3 cup dried currents
- 1/3 cup asiago cheese finely grated
- 1 cup mayo
- 1/4 cup buttermilk (or buttermilk subsitute, see notes)
- 1 lemon juiced
- 12 basil leaves
- 1 garlic clove coarsely chopped
- salt and pepper
- Cook the cous cous according to package instructions. Don't overcook! When finished, rinse under cold water to remove the startchy coating. Chill until ready to use.
- Combine tomatoes, 2 tbsp basil, and balsamic in a small bowl, refrigerate until ready to use.
- Blend all dressing ingredients until smooth, refrigerate until ready to use.
- Just before ready to serve, mix pepitas, currants, and asiago cheese.
- To plate, assemble all ingredients in lines on the plate, as shown in the recipe picture.
- At the table, pour the dressing, and mix. Enjoy!