My parents moved into the house next door to us a year ago, so instead of getting to eat my father’s cooking only a few times a year, we are now lucky to count ourselves as regular beneficiaries of my father’s superb cooking. Not long ago, my father, also known as Chef Ira, cooked dinner while the rest of us put in a full day of work. The menu for that memorable meal included fresh cod; roasted potatoes, eggplant, squash, and Brussels sprouts with caramelized garlic and onions; and his famous chopped salad. My dad’s chopped salad, which appears at most if not all the meals he cooks, is “to die for!” and it is certainly worth learning how to make. 

When I arrived home from work, Dad had already chopped 2 tomatoes, 1 Vidalia onion, and 2 red peppers into very small pieces, and they were in a bowl in the refrigerator. I broke apart one head of romaine lettuce, rinsed it thoroughly, shook off the excess water, and set it aside. I did not dry it thoroughly, because my dad says that you want a little bit of water on the leaves to fall to the bottom of the bowl and become part of the dressing.

I broke apart the lettuce leaves into small, bite-size pieces and put them into the salad bowl along with the tomatoes, onion and red pepper. I added 1/4 cup olive oil, a teaspoon of Kosher salt, a generous sprinkle of garlic powder, and the juice of 2 lemons, and tossed it thoroughly. As usual, it was amaaaaa-zing. 

Thank you, Chef Ira!

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