Way back in the day (a la 2009), I took California for granted. I genuinely believed that I could live anywhere in the country, or maybe even the world, and be fine.
Freshly after graduating college, I jetted off to Pennsylvania, and spent about 2 years living the Steel City of Pittsburgh. While I loved the friends and colleagues I made there, my oh my, did I miss my sunny happy California.
The weather… (pretty much always between a pleasant 65 and 80 degrees w. no humidity or rain), the friendly open minded people, the fashion, the Mexican food, my family. I missed it all.
So this post is in honor of lovely California.
I present to you, the California Cobb Salad.
What makes this cobb salad so Californian? Let me count the ways…
- Grilled chicken. I’m not exaggerating that you can grill year round in California, so I just had to oblige in this salad. (Although I cheated and used a grill pan, hehe).
- Avocadooo. Okay, that’s already in cobb salad. But I gave each serving a full HALF of an avocado. Because anything less would be blasphemy.
- Sprouts. Californians love their health food. And what screams health more than fresh sprouts on your salad or sandwich?? Nothing, that’s what.
- Perfectly hardboiled eggs. Because a trendy Californian wouldn’t be caught dead with an over-done chalky egg yolk (especially not one w. a green ring around it!). Smooth, creamy, and richly dark yellow. These eggs aren’t just an afterthought, they’re a main star of the dish.
- Fresh herbs. Since fresh fruits and veggies are available at farmers market year round here in Cali, I had to represent with some fresh oregano stirred into the dressing. Yum yum.
Again, this salad is perfect for serving a crowd. Just place all the ingredients in small bowls, and let everyone assemble their own salad to their pleasing. Enjoy!
California Cobb Salad
For the Salad:
- 8 slices of uncooked bacon
- 4 large eggs
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Grapeseed oil
- Kosher salt & ground black pepper, for seasoning
- 1 large head romaine lettuce
- 1 bunch green onions, chopped
- 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
- 2 avocados, thinly sliced
- 4 oz alfalfa sprouts
- 1 cup crumbled blue cheese
For the Dressing:
- 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the bacon pieces on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until golden and crispy. Use tongs to move the bacon to a paper-towel lined plate & let cool.
Next, place the eggs in a saucepan and cover with several inches of cold water. Put the pot on the stove & warm over high heat until the water comes to a rolling boil. Once boiling, turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let sit for 10 minutes. Remove the eggs from the pot & run under cool water. Place in the fridge to cool completely.
Cover a large cutting board with plastic wrap & place the chicken breasts on them. Cover with a second layer of plastic wrap. Use a meat mallet to pound the breasts to roughly 1/4 inch thickness. Discard the plastic wrap, drizzle the cutlets with grapeseed oil, then season liberally with kosher salt & ground black pepper.
Preheat a grill pan over high heat. Add the pounded chicken breasts & cook about 4 or 5 minutes on the first side, and just a minute or two on the second side (until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit). Remove from the grill and let cool.
Next, cut the head of romaine into bite-sized pieces for the salad. [Here is my favorite easy way to do it!]
Wash the salad pieces well, and spin dry in a salad spinner. Set aside.
Next, prep all the cooked salad ingredients. Crumble the bacon into pieces, slice the hardboiled eggs into rounds, and slice the chicken into thin strips.
Finally, make the salad dressing. Whisk the extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, garlic, Dijon, salt, and pepper together in a small bowl.
Fill each bowl with one quarter of the lettuce, and top with 1/4 of the chicken, 1 sliced egg, 1/2 avocado, 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, 1/4 of the bacon, 1/4 of the green onion, 1/4 cup blue cheese, and a handful of sprouts. Drizzle with salad dressing, and enjoy!
Goes great with Herbed Garlic Bread!