New Orleans-style Italian Salad
(or, as it was once called locally,
"Wop Salad")

New Orleans is not the most "politically correct" place in the world.

This fairly old-fashioned but longtime favorite dish on Creole-Italian menus across the city is an example of that, the term "wop" being generally felt to be a slur on people of Italian extraction. However, nobody in New Orleans, least of all Italians, seemed to mind the term at least as applied to this dish, which would probably still be on restaurant menus under its old name if it weren't for out-of-towners who were kind enough to point out that this is, in fact, an ethnic slur.

The dish is still beloved in the hearts of many, though, even though you hardly see it on menus anymore (certainly not under its original name), which is a shame, 'cause it's really pretty good. It's a great way to use the muffuletta olive salad on something other than a muffuletta sandwich, too.

Combine lettuces, olive salad, tomatoes and dressing in a large bowl, toss well. Divide evenly on 8 salad plates. On each plate, make an "x" with two anchovies on top of each mixed salad. Top with one asparagus spear and a boiled shrimp. Make sure each plate has some tomatoes and plenty of the vegetables (including a pepperoncini) from the olive salad. Sprinkle with cheese and serve immediately.

YIELD: 8 servings


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Chuck Taggart   email chuck (at) gumbopages (dot) com