Thursday, April 29, 2010

cobb salad

Sometimes, the stars align...and magic happens. The other night, I happened to have 80% of the ingredients for cobb salad...with a quick stop to Eastern Market for chicken and avocado, I was all set to make magic happen. (And--oh yes, there's bacon in this salad, it's under the chicken.) Now, anyone can make a cobb salad. The instructions here are how to make the best cobb salad (with very crisp bacon, perfectly cooked egg, and tender chicken). With just a few simple tricks this salad is transformed from a bar menu snore to a weeknight victory.

Cobb salad
Serves: 2
Prep time/cook time: 40 minutes

You'll need:
  • 2 heads of baby romaine lettuce
  • 2-3 oz. blue cheese, crumbled
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 very ripe avocado
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 C. dressing of your choice
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper

First, preheat your oven to 375. Lay your chicken breasts on a foil lined baking sheet, brush your chicken breasts with olive oil, and season both sides of the chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Roast, uncovered for 40-45 minutes, depending on how big your

Next, wash and dry your romaine leaves. Chop the romaine (I like mine in 1/4" ribbons). Portion the romaine out into two big salad bowls or plates, and place those plates with the lettuce in the refrigerator until you're ready to assemble your salad.

For perfect hard-boiled eggs -- place two cold eggs in a small pot, fill with cold water, cover, and bring pot to a boil. As soon as the water boils, remove the pot from the heat, and set a timer for 9 minutes. After the 9 minutes are up, rinse the eggs in cold water, peel, and slice.

Bacon can be tricky and messy. Here's a trick for perfect bacon every time: Lay bacon in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until bacon is looking like it's almost ready. Then, take the bacon out of the oven, place on a plate lined with paper towels, and microwave for 1 minute. Voila - extra crisp bacon, extra easy. For this salad, chop your bacon once it's crispy.

After 40-45 minutes, check on your chicken. Remove it from the oven, and place a foil tent over the pan for 10 minutes. The chicken will continue to cook, but this also allows the juices to re-distribute within the meat, so you won't end up with dried-up chicken bits on your salad.

When you are ready to assemble, remove your greens from the fridge. Dress them to your liking. In rows, place the tomatoes, then the egg, then the blue cheese, then the bacon. Dice your chicken and place that in another 'row' on top of your greens. Finally, just before you are ready to serve -- cut an avocado in half, score it into cubes with a knife, and scoop out 1/2 avocado on top of each salad (season with salt and pepper if you wish).


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