Wednesday, July 13, 2011

making the most of a cobb salad

Of course, I've mentioned my lack of grace when it comes to my need to give up cheese. I love cheese. Though it may seem surprising, salads are often where I miss cheese the most. Surprising partly because salads usually have so much already going for them, you'd think you'd hardly miss the cheese. That, of course, is the goal, but it is not always a given.

In the past, when I wanted a simple dinner salad, I'd almost always think blue cheese dressing, maybe with some tart vinaigrette thown in for a piquant touch. If not that, then a Greek style with feta. Caesar salad, of course, features cheese, as does my favorite salad-as-a-meal, Cobb Salad.

It was with a bit of hesitation that I approached the idea of a cheese-less Cobb. A salad like this is not something I'd be comfortable ordering at a restaurant. Not that I'm ever too comfortable ordering anything at a restaurant. Still, this scares me a bit more than other dishes with so many opportunities for cross-contamination. So preparing it at home was and is my only reasonable option. And of course, I love playing with food, so that's not such a bad option.

At the same time, since I like to make the same meals for both of us and avoid feeling like a short-order cook, I had to consider other substitutions. I have to be careful about bacon, since all manner of additives can find their way into some of it. GK will eat beef or turkey bacon but not pork. I can't stand beef or turkey bacon. Oops, that wouldn't work. This time I settled on bacon-less for him and bought pre-cooked nitrite-free, pork bacon for me. He did, after all, get lots of beautiful raw-milk blue cheese that would be absent from my plate. (sigh) I may plan on keeping some pre-cooked turkey bacon in the freezer for him if this salad becomes a stand-by. I settled on fresh lemon juice with organic olive oil, salt, pepper, parsley, and chives from the garden for the dressing. From my daughter Kristen's kitchen garden, were the cherry, grape, and pear tomatoes.

My salad, almost complete, it just needs some perfectly ripe avocado slices and a bit more dressing..

Eggs were a little over-cooked, but that blue cheese looks great.

The meat in these is the roasted turkey breast described a few days ago. This is quick and easy to prepare, though you can also buy turkey from the deli or use chicken breasts. Add sliced or quartered boiled eggs, slices of avocado, and red or green onion. I like to decorate a plate of leafy lettuce (a combination of red leaf, better, and red butter lettuce is great) with each ingredient piled separately and dressed on the plate. They can all be mixed together and served mounded in a bowl or plate, as well. It's just not as pretty that way.

It's hard to tell these are different salads until you look closely.


  1. Those are some lovely tomatoes. In my humble non biased opinion I do believe they "make" the salad.

  2. An astute observation. They do add an air of the artistic, don't they?

  3. Rereading this post, I'm starting to dream again of Cobb Salad. I may have to rethink the menus for the next night or two. I use the term menu very loosely, of course; my menus float around in my head, coming together as I begin cooking.


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