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Best Italian Antipasto Salad: It’s simply the best antipasto chopped salad – from central Pennsylvania!
Antipasto is the traditional first course of an Italian meal that is served before the main course. It literally means, “before the meal.”
Nestled in between the rocky mountain faces of the Appalachians and the Juniata River, stood a simple Italian restaurant along the side of the road that specialized in an amazing antipasto salad.
Let me tell you about Tony’s Cottage Inn.
Before there was a bypass to Happy Valley, Pennsylvania, one of the few watering holes along Route 22 that Nittany Lions (and everyone in between) could stop for a bite to eat was a tiny little restaurant perched on the rocks above the Juniata River.
For years, Tony’s was an unremarkable two-story brick building just off the fork in Route 22.
When my brother and I were little, we would visit our paternal grandfather in Lewistown, Pennsylvania.
Every time we went there, dinner would usually consist of two things – Kentucky Fried Chicken and the antipasto salad from Tony’s.
For the most intense flavors, be sure to buy all the ingredients fresh at the deli counter.
Mom buys 1/2 inch thick slices of the genoa salami and pepperoni cut directly from the entire salami.
With the exception of the crumbled blue cheese, to prepare the freshest and best antipasto chopped salad not a single ingredient used is pre-packaged.
Ingredients (besides the lettuce) include the following:
The chopped salad ingredients are cubed, placed in a large serving bowl then drizzled with the Antipasto Vinaigrette dressing and tossed to coat evenly. Set aside
Just before serving, the mix is tossed with the romaine lettuce pieces – just enough to coat the lettuce with the dressing already on the “fixings”.
I don’t know if it was the dressing or the combination of toppings, but I have yet to find another chopped salad that even comes close to comparing. Except our version of course. This is it!
The salad is the reason I love blue cheese and chopped salads. The only thing we all skip, except for my aunt and brother, are the anchovies (yuck!).
Mom, on the other hand, passes her dish around to collect all the little salty fish bits. She loves the authentic version of the best Antipasto Chopped Salad, anchovies included!