Saturday, October 01, 2005

Cobb Salad with Roast Beef

I enjoy a crisp green dinner salad all year. Salads with few ingredients are winners in my book. I'm not a fan of complex salads. You can please me with iceberg, romaine or red leaf lettuce. Add a little color--shredded carrot and red cabbage--and a creamy homemade blue cheese dressing.

Don't cloud the salad with celery (the stuff gags me!), broccoli flowerets (I love it cooked, though) or those tiny pickled corn cobs. I don’t mind pickled red beets (in fact, I love them). And a few cauliflower flowerets on the side as fine with me.

And forget the fresh tomatoes. My mother tried, but failed to pass the Karoly’s summer-long love affair with garden fresh tomatoes on to me. Pass catsup, salsa and canned tomatoes by my plate and I’ll bite. I’ll leave the fresh tomatoes to others.

Sometimes I think my obsession with green dinner salads is just an excuse to eat blue cheese dressing. But it’s one obsession that’s rubbed off on my daughters. Together we serenade “Blue cheese, blue cheese, blue cheese” when we order salads. My son has to be different. He’ll ask for Italian.

I’ve said all this to say this: When I find a restaurant that serves a first-rate Cobb salad, I latch on to it. So much so, that I’ll only order that entrée from that particular restaurant. Locally, Main Street Grill in Placerville, California offers a great tri-tip Cobb with avocado, bacon, hard-cooked eggs, tomatoes and blue cheese crumbles.

I enjoy a hearty meat salad summer or winter. They’re ideal when the thermometer passes the century mark. Leftover grilled meat and the opportunity to run an oven-free kitchen make the Cobb salad the ideal summertime dinner entrée.

But what about fall and winter when the sun wanes over the horizon? A Cobb is the ideal entrée for a lazy fall day. No cooking is required if the meats and eggs are cooked ahead. The Cobb can be the perfect vessel for leftover items.

Unless you’re chilled to the bone and need a hearty bowl of soup to warm you through, try Cobb salad this week.


Any meat or poultry can be used for this salad. Grilled meat adds a nice charred flavor to the salad. Dice the meat and arrange in rows with the avocado, tomato, bacon, blue cheese and eggs. Dress with your favorite salad dressing if desired.

4 cups iceberg (about 1/2 head), cut into bite-size pieces
1 bunch watercress, stems removed
2 cups romaine (about 1/2 head), leaves separated and torn into bite-size pieces
8 ounces cooked roast beef or steak, diced
2 medium tomatoes, diced
4 strips cooked bacon, crumbled
3 hard-cooked eggs, diced
1 ripe avocado, peeled and diced
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons finely cut chives
1 cup Cobb dressing (recipe follows)

Arrange lettuce and watercress in a large bowl or individual serving bowls. Arrange beef, tomatoes, bacon, eggs, avocado and blue cheese in neat rows on top of greens. Completely cover the greens. Sprinkle chives over the salad to garnish. Dress the salad just before serving. Toss if desired. Serves 6.


3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Whisk together all ingredients except oil in a small bowl. Add oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified.

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