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Classic Cobb Salad

This salad includes hard-cooked eggs. It is easy to overcook them, giving the yolks an unsightly greenish tinge and a dry texture. This gentle method ensures good results: Put the eggs in a saucepan and add cold water to cover them by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over medium heat. When the water begins to boil, remove from the heat, cover and let the eggs stand in the water for 20 minutes. Rinse under cold running water until cool, then peel.

Traditionally, Cobb salad is made with Roquefort cheese, which gives a richness and tang to the dressing as well as to the salad. If you prefer a milder blue cheese, try Danish or Maytag.

Ingredients:

  • 3 hard-cooked eggs, peeled
  • 8 bacon slices
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, leaves separated
      and torn into bite-size pieces
  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh chives, plus several longer
      chive lengths for garnish
  • 2 cups chopped watercress (tough stems
      removed)
  • 4 cups diced cooked turkey or chicken (see note)
  • 2 avocados, pitted, peeled and diced
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 lb. plus 1 oz. Roquefort cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed and then minced
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:

Cut the hard-cooked eggs into 1/2-inch dice. Set aside.

In a fry pan over medium heat, fry the bacon until crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. When cool, crumble and set aside.

Make a bed of lettuce on a platter or shallow bowl. Mix together the parsley and minced chives. Arrange the eggs, bacon, mixed minced herbs, watercress, turkey, avocados, tomatoes and the 1/4 lb. cheese in a neat pattern atop the lettuce, in rows or in a checkerboard pattern, covering the lettuce almost completely.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper. Using a fork, mash in the remaining 1 oz. cheese to make a paste. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil to form a thick dressing.

Pour a little of the dressing over the salad and garnish with chive lengths. Serve immediately. Pass the remaining dressing at the table. Serves 4 to 6.

Note: Use leftover roasted turkey or chicken in this salad. If you have none on hand, poach some chicken breasts. Put 4 or 5 chicken breast halves in a large saucepan and add lightly salted water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 30 minutes. Discard the skin and bones and cut the meat into bite-size pieces.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Salad, by Georgeanne Brennan (Simon & Schuster, 2001).