Thursday, February 12, 2015


Meet our new favorite salad. I feel a little silly being like, “Hey guys, look what I just discovered!” when Cobb salad has been around since the 1930s, but the addition of kale makes it hip, right?

Having grown up with a horror of so many ingredients all mixed together, especially cold meat and eggs, I never really gained much familiarity with the classic salads of yore, and I certainly never saw a Cobb look remotely appealing until I paged to this recipe in Dinner: The Playbook (yes, again; and here is the original post at Dinner: A Love Story). It was so pretty, and I realized, Wait! I like avocado and bacon and tomatoes and cheese and eggs and chicken! I also love kale, and swapping it in for lettuce here isn’t just blind trend-following—it gives you a definitive green presence that stands up to the weight of all those hefty toppings and, better still, lasts for days without wilting so you can stash the leftovers all ready to go. We’ve already eaten this twice in one month, and it’s destined to become a year-round staple. I love the rainbow of wholesome ingredients and fact that it makes a perfectly easy, protein-packed work lunch that’s hearty without being heavy; A loves that it’s a satisfying meal with a variety of flavors and textures, especially bacon and blue cheese to help temper his kale skepticism.

I made a few slight modifications—omitted sugar from the vinaigrette, massaged the kale with half the dressing right away and let it marinate a bit (key, in my view, to a successful kale salad), and increased some of the toppings to make an even more substantial main dish—one egg and one slice of bacon per serving, and more tomatoes to amp up the color. And I went a bit easy on the cheese, because blue isn’t my favorite, although it definitely adds an important flavor contrast here. The original recipe says you can use feta instead, and the second time around I tried that and preferred it, with just a light dusting of blue for a hint of funk.

A came in just now to prod me to go to bed on time, but granted me a reprieve as soon as he saw what I was working on, saying, “The world needs to know about Cobb salad.” So there you have it! It may not be breaking news, but just in case you weren’t aware, Cobb salad—this one, at least—is delicious.

1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ cup red wine vinegar
A squeeze of lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup olive oil
1 large bunch Tuscan kale, stemmed and thinly sliced
2-4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
1 to 1½ cups poached, grilled, or roasted chicken breast, shredded or cubed
3-4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2-4 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions or minced chives
½ to 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved (or quartered if large)
1 avocado, diced
¼ to ½ cup crumbled blue or feta cheese
  1. In a small bowl, mix the mustard, vinegar, and lemon juice, then season generously with salt and pepper to taste. Gradually whisk in the olive oil until emulsified.
  2. Place the shredded kale in a large bowl and drizzle with about half of the vinaigrette. Mix thoroughly with your hands until the leaves are evenly coated, and let sit for at least 15 minutes while you assemble the remaining ingredients.
  3. Portion out the dressed kale equally into four salad bowls. Top each portion with a quarter of the eggs, chicken, bacon, scallions, tomato, avocado, and cheese, then drizzle with a quarter of the remaining dressing and toss gently. (If you prefer, you can just mix all the ingredients together in a very large serving bowl and go from there. Or you can place each component in a separate bowl and let everyone assemble their own, salad-bar style, especially if you have picky eaters on hand.)
Serves: 4
Time: 30 minutes (1 hour if you need to boil the eggs, cook the bacon and poach the chicken)
Leftover potential: Awesome.