Sunday, July 11, 2010

Cobb Salad

I've been a bit lazy about making my own lunch as of late. Some weeks you just don't feel like planning what you want to make for every meal, so then you end up at the cafeteria every day. I tried to make healthy choices there, but you know that even if you get soup or even the salad bar, you end up with sub-par ingredients and extra, unforeseen calories. So I finally took action and took back my lunch.

Earlier this year, Saveur Magazine did a story on the origin of Cobb salad. They showed their recipe for the quintessential Cobb. For me, it involved a few too many ingredients for my state of mind, so I slimmed it down both in steps as well as in calories.

Cobb Salad
Makes 4 servings (or, in my case, 5 lunches)

1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
3/4 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1 head romaine lettuce, cored and chopped
2 oz blue cheese, crumbled
6 slices turkey bacon, cooked, chopped
3 hard-boiled eggs, cubed
2 tomatoes, seeded, cubed
2 chicken breasts, cooked, cubed
2 tbsp chives, chopped

To make the dressing, combine all ingredients in a blender or plastic shaker and blend until smooth. I'm not sure why, but many recipes call for a lot of oil in their dressings, so I've halved the total oil content so you can taste more of the other ingredients.

The rest of the salad is pretty straightforward. Put some lettuce on a plate (or plastic container), and top it with the blue cheese, turkey bacon, eggs, tomatoes, and chicken however you like. Dust it all with chives and drizzle on dressing to taste.

Cobb Salad

A good salad should be satisfying. It's as simple as that. If you want to eat a salad as a meal to help cut calories, then you have to do it right. You can't eat lettuce with salt and pepper because you will be hungry in about an hour or so. You also can't go overboard with tons of creamy dressings and calorie-dense ingredients, because that defeats the purpose. This Cobb salad is a good balance of these extremes. You get good protein and vegetables to fill you up without ruining your figure. The dressing in this salad is good, but for me a Cobb is all about the vast array of ingredients that you get to eat in various combinations. A little salty, a little crunch, a little soft, a little bland, you get it all. So if you're tired of the same-old, bland cafeteria options, you can liberate yourself with a little blending and chopping.

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