Sunday, December 30, 2012

Cobb Salad

Each time K's sister is in town, she orders a cobb salad wherever it's available, so I decided to make her one this time. I followed Smitten Kitchen's recipe since it seemed to be the most authentic and I liked the addition of watercress. The only ingredient I substituted was the dry mustard—using Dijon instead because that's what we had. I don't think it made much of  a difference and it turned out really well. K kept telling me this was way better than my last attempt, which was missing several ingredients. 

Classic Cobb Salad
Adapted, barely, from Saveur

Serves 4 to 6

Dressing (Heads up: I found I only needed half of this)
3/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire
1/4 teaspoon sugar or agave syrup
1 clove garlic, minced grated (makes it easier if using a jar to blend ingredients)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/2 head iceberg lettuce, cored and shredded
1/2 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1/2 bunch watercress, some of the stems trimmed, chopped
2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (we used a Stilton)
6 strips cooked bacon, roughly chopped
3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 medium tomatoes, peeled*, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons chives, minced

Make the dressing: 
1) Combine the canola oil, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, Worcestershire, sugar, and garlic in a blender or jar

2) Purée or shake vigorously (if using a jar with a lid) the ingredients to make a smooth dressing and season with salt and pepper. 

3) Set the dressing aside.

Make the salad: 
4) On a (very) large platter, combine the iceberg and romaine lettuces along with the watercress. 

5) Arrange the blue cheese, bacon, eggs, tomatoes, chicken, and avocado on top of the greens in neat rows. 

6) To serve, drizzle salad with dressing, season with salt and pepper, and top with chives. Alternatively, toss everything together in a bowl.

Do ahead: Salad dressing keeps, covered and refrigerated, for up to one week. Individual ingredients (except the avocado, which is too prone to browning) can be prepped and chopped, and kept in separate containers in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble the salad. However, no doubt due to sturdiness of 2/3 of the lettuces, I found that the entire assembled salad kept surprisingly well wrapped in plastic in the fridge for a few hours.

* To peel a tomato: Cut an X in bottom of each tomato and blanch in a large pot of boiling water for 10 seconds. Immediately transfer with a slotted spoon to an ice bath to cool. Slide the skins right off, starting at the X. Completely befuddled by the need for this step? Skip it.

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