May 23, 2012 7:19 PM

Let's Make a Meal: A Tucson twist on Cobb Salad

TUCSON - Today on News 4 at 4 p.m., our food contributor Jennifer English stopped by with another fresh salad for summer. Here's what she had to say:

"Once again, it is too hot to cook and nearly too hot to eat. It is lucky for us that it is National Salad Month. I hope that we will continue to encourage people to take our No-More-Boring-Salads Pledge. In doing my part, I feel the need to define what we mean by boring. For many of us, the beautiful salad we make and enjoy nightly on our dinner table is not in itself boring. Rather, the boring comes in the sameness of its classic construction. It might follow the elements of a great salad: color, texture, satisfaction, crunch.

"I hope today's recipe provides you with inspiration to change the ‘same-salad habit.'

"I think that when you start with a classic, you can never go wrong. After all, they are classic for a reason. Today we are going to start with a Class Cobb Salad recipe and then make it even more delicious (and easy).

"When you see Ladies who Lunch on television and in the movies and they all order a Cobb Salad, everyone has a way of ‘customizing' it.

"'No bacon on mine please, and dressing on the side,' another says, ‘No eggs or chicken on mine, but twice the avocado please.'

"You get the idea. It is no different in my family (or yours. most likely). So what I do is take the items I know everyone likes and create the ‘Base Salad.'

"In my house the Lucky Wishbone chicken breasts with the wishbones and avocado are the big stars. I also put celery & cucumber on mine. I know Cobb Salad purists are already screaming, but this is what we like in my house. Then I put the bacon, bleu cheese, egg and tomato in side bowls for everyone to self serve from. That way no two salads are the same. In my house we call this the Fried Chicken Salad, because the chicken really is the star."

Classic Cobb Salad
inspired by Saveur
Serves 4 to 6
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
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1 head green leaf lettuce, cored and shredded
1/2 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1/2 bunch arugula, 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
(for my Fried Chicken Salad I get 1 Lucky Wishbone, Wishbone Breast per person)
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons chives, minced

Dressing: Combine the canola oil, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, Worcestershire, sugar, and garlic in a blender. Purée the ingredients to make a smooth dressing and season with salt and pepper. Set the dressing aside.

Salad: On a large platter, combine the iceberg and romaine lettuces along with the watercress. Arrange the blue cheese, bacon, eggs, tomatoes, chicken, and avocado on top of the greens in neat rows. To serve, drizzle salad with dressing, season with salt and pepper, and top with chives.

If you toss all the ingredients together in a large bowl, this can be called a California style "Chopped Salad."


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