By Cat, Aug 2007 (Photo, right, attributed to “Fir0002/Flagstaffotos” on Wikimedia Commons)
The Cobb is one of my favorite salads, and it makes a great presentation for a buffet or luncheon. Typically, each ingredient has it’s own position on the salad plate; other presentations include:
- separate ingredients are arranged in stripes on the plate;
- layered in a bowl; scattered throughout the salad; or
- a combination of these options.
According to Wikipedia (2), the mnemonic: EAT COBB can help to remember the main ingredients: Eggs, Avocado, Tomato, Chicken, Onion, Bacon, Blue cheese. The version presented here includes all of these plus a few surprises.
This recipe is adapted from Fine Cooking, originally by S. Middleton (1), which in turn is an adaptation of the classic Cobb salad. Somehow the combination of chicken, bacon, hard-boiled eggs, and blue cheese works magic on the taste buds. Great for a summer luncheon party.
Mayonnaise is used to coat the chicken before grilling; I do not recommend using commercial mayo because it is made with seed oils (corn, soy, safflower or canola)* which are made rancid by the high-heat/pressure process used to extract the oil from the seed (rancidity means lots of damaging free-radicals). Plus, many of these oils are GMO, unless they are Organic; but the Organic label will not necessarily protect you from the rancidity. Making your own mayo is really easy if you have a blender, and you can use the far more healthful olive or avocado oil. See my recipe at Homemade Mayonnaise.
‘* June 2018 update: some commercial mayos are now made with avocado oil, which is a more stable oil and so far, is not GMO. So check the label!
You can serve this with a balsamic dressing, a creamy gorgonzola dressing, or the Lemon Sherry Dressing recommended by Fine Cooking (see my version at Lemon-Sherry Vinaigrette). My favorite is creamy gorgonzola.
Serves 4 (full meal salads).
Ingredients & Equipment:
- 2 – 3 eggs, hard-boiled
- ½ cup Crispy Pine Nuts
- 2 boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 pound or so), brined
- 1 ½ Tbsp homemade mayo
- ¾ tsp Dijon mustard
- freshly ground black pepper
- 8 slices bacon
- 1 recipe Lemon-Sherry Vinaigrette, or dressing of your choice
- 2 medium heads Boston or Bibb lettuce
- ½ bunch parsley
- small bunch mint (optional)
- 2 large avocados
- 1½ – 2 cups (about⅔ pound) halved grape tomatoes
- ⅓ cup sliced chives or scallions (¾” long)
- 4 oz crumbled Roquefort or Gorgonzola
- sauce pan (to cook eggs)
- bowl (for brining)
- grill or grill pan
- cast iron skillet
- Prep: Hardboil the eggs, then remove shells and cut eggs into slices or small dice. Refrigerate until ready to assemble salad.
- Crispy pine nuts: presoak overnight, then toast. (I usually keep 1 – 2 cups on-hand).
- Brine chicken 30 minutes (1/2 cup kosher salt in 1 quart water). Rinse and pat dry. Remove meat from bones. Separate the chicken tenderloins if they are attached.
- While chicken is brining:
- Make the dressing and mayo.
- Wash & trim lettuce and pat dry.
- Wash and pat dry the parsley and mint. Tear leaves from parsley stems to make about 1 cup lightly-packed leaves. Tear large mint leaves into smaller pieces, to make about 1/2 cup lightly-packed leaves.
- Peel & pit the avos, then slice or cut into 1/2” dice. Toss with 2 Tbsp of vinaigrette.
- Slice tomatoes and chives, crumble cheese.
- Cook bacon in skillet; remove to plate covered with paper towel to drain and cool. Then crumble.
- Grill chicken: Combine mayo, dijon and black pepper in bowl; dip chicken in this mixture, then grill: 4 – 6 minutes per side for breasts; 2 – 4 minutes per side for tenderloins.
- Slice grilled breasts in 1/4” slices; dice tenderloins.
- Arrange lettuce leaves on 4 plates.
- Arrange chicken slices in one corner of each;
- Diced tenderloins in opposite corner.
- Arrange bacon crumbles in another corner, and
- Diced egg in opposite corner.
- Add crumbled cheese in the center of each plate.
- Scatter tomatoes, pine nuts, parsley, mint and chives around the other ingredients. Serve with dressing on the side.
- Arrange lettuce leaves on 4 plates.
- Arrange chicken slices on one side.
- Combine diced avocado, diced chicken tenderloins, halved tomatoes, diced egg, crumbled cheese, & pine nuts in mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper and toss with 3 – 4 Tbsp vinaigrette. Mound 1/4 of the mixture next to the chicken on each plate.
- Sprinkle bacon, parsley, mint and chives over all
- Serve with dressing on the side.
- Fine Cooking, originally by S. Middleton (finecooking.com/recipes/cobb-salad-fresh-herbs.aspx)
- Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cobb_salad