Spinach Cobb Salad with Bacon, Blue Cheese, Avocado & Derby Dressing

Cobb SaladSalad Daze

I make no excuses for the fact that I am not a salad kind of chick. It is more accurate to say that salads are generally not my first choice. I like veggies. I like lettuce. My issues are not flavor driven—they are calorie driven. I don’t want to be hungry twenty minutes after I eat. I will eat a salad. I just have to have something else to go with it…preferably a double cheeseburger…and some onion rings. (See what I did there? Vegetables!)

If I do make a meal out of just salad, a Cobb Salad is perfect. You have your lettuce and tomatoes, a little avocado, plus some bacon (always a good idea), add eggs, and so on, and so on. The bonus is that Cobb Salad is not only a family favorite, but a perfect hot weather Wednesday night dinner. Simply pile everything on a platter and serve it up family style. Or, even more fun, do a make your own Cobb Salad Bar. (This is best when I’ve reached my I Literally Can’t Even… stage.)

This recipe stopped me in my tracks while skimming through a magazine called Fresh from the Farm in the checkout line. My mind told me that I need to make that. Like, now. Maybe it was one of those right place, right time, right marketing strategy things, but I bought the magazine and this is what’s for dinner tonight.

Spinach Cobb Salad with Bacon, Blue Cheese, Avocado & Derby Dressing
Adapted from Susie Middleton in
Fresh From the Farm Magazine published by Fine Cooking

For the dressing
6 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoon plus 1 tsp. red-wine vinegar
1-1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the salad
2 large ripe avocados
1-1/2 cups halved grape tomatoes (about 8 oz.)
2 ribs celery, finely sliced (about 1/2 cup)
Kosher salt
6 ounces baby spinach, stemmed if necessary, washed and dried
3 ounces Bibb lettuce (about 1 small head) or inner leaves of Boston lettuce, washed and dried
1/4 cup sliced fresh chives (cut into 1-inch lengths)
Freshly ground black pepper
4 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and sliced
4 ounces Roquefort or other good-quality blue cheese, crumbled
8 slices cooked bacon, crumbled

Make the dressing
Put all the ingredients (including several grinds of fresh pepper) in a liquid measure and whisk vigorously. (Or use a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake well.)

Make the salad
Have ready one large shallow serving bowl (about 14 inches across).

Slice the avocados in half, remove pit with a knife, dice in the shell, and scoop with a large spoon (video instructions here). Put the avocado in a mixing bowl with the grape tomatoes and celery. Season with a pinch of salt, drizzle with 1 Tbs. of the dressing, and toss very gently.

Combine the spinach, Bibb lettuce, and half of the chives in a big mixing bowl. Season lightly with salt and a few grinds of fresh pepper. Drizzle and toss with about 3 tablesppons of the dressing (taste and add more if you like). Transfer the greens to the serving bowl.

Mound the avocado mixture in the center of the greens. Arrange the egg slices in a circle around the avocado mixture. Sprinkle the blue cheese in a circle around the egg slices. Lastly, sprinkle the bacon around the blue cheese, leaving a few greens peeking out around the edges of the bowl. Drizzle most or all of the remaining dressing over everything and garnish with the remaining chives.

Bring to the table with tongs and plates to serve.

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