Maybe it’s because I just returned from vacation where most of my meals were eaten out, or maybe it’s because the lettuce in my CSA delivery looked so good. Whatever the reason, I really wanted a restaurant-style Cobb salad for lunch today.
People who know me will find this weird, because I never order them off the menu. There’s always too much cheese, the eggs are rubbery, and the bacon is full of nitrites. But I’d just seen a recipe for Buttermilk Lime dressing in the Denver Post, and instantly I knew I would use it to make my own Cobb.
Typically, a Cobb salad includes bacon, eggs, tomatoes, roquefort, avocado and chicken, but the beauty of making your own is that you can tailor it to your tastes and what you have on hand. I started with a variety of organic lettuce called Freckles, with green and purple leaves. Then I added ribbons of smoked turkey (Hormel’s Natural Choice is preservative and nitrite free), sharp cheddar, organic tomato slices and croutons. On which note: it pays to read labels. The fat-free croutons I looked at had an ingredient list almost as tall as the bag. The sea salt and pepper version had just a handful, and only a negligible amount of fat.
Next, the dressing. I’m a vinaigrette kind of girl, but something about this recipe (from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook by Matt Lee and Ted Lee, and reprinted in yesterday’s Denver Post) caught my eye. Probably all the herbs: 1/4 cup of minced basil, 1/4 cup of minced parsley and 1/4 cup of minced green onions. Add in the juice of three or four limes, buttermilk, salt and a little extra-virgin olive oil and honey and you’ve got a much tangier, healthier version of the ranch that often drowns the Cobb.
Apologies that I didn’t get the finished salad on film. In all honesty, it looked so good that the kids and I ate it without giving the camera another thought!
P.S. A word about lettuce. When I first pulled it out of the CSA bag, it was wilted. I gave the leaves a quick wash then let them soak in a bowl of cool water for 15 minutes until they crisped up. Then I spun them dry, covered them loosely and stored them in the fridge. If you clean the lettuce right away, you’re more likely to make a salad because the “hard” part is already done.