While the origins of a Cobb salad are still up for debate, what goes into one is fairly absolute: tender chicken breast, tangy tomatoes, perfectly hard-boiled egg and, perhaps most important, crispy bacon. This classic version relies on crumbled blue cheese and ripe avocado for creaminess, rather than a cheese or buttermilk-based dressing, making way for a mustardy shallot vinaigrette. The way each of the ingredients is prepared will depend on personal preference: Are you a chunky, chopped salad kind of person? Or do you prefer your lettuce torn and tomatoes sliced? Here, the torn and sliced approach is taken for a more elegant visual, but feel free to make it your own. It also halves nicely if you're cooking for two.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 1small shallot, thinly sliced into rings
- 3tablespoons red-wine vinegar
- Kosher salt and ground pepper
- 1tablespoon whole grain or Dijon mustard
- 3tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed
- 4large eggs
- 10ounces thick-cut bacon (about 8 strips)
- 12ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 2 medium breasts)
- 1head romaine lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces or coarsely chopped
- 6ounces small to medium tomatoes (about 6), sliced or quartered
- 1avocado, thinly sliced or chopped
- 4ounces blue cheese, crumbled
- 3tablespoons finely chopped chives
Step 1Make the dressing: Cover shallot rings with vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Let sit for 5 minutes to lightly pickle the shallots and infuse the vinegar. Add mustard and 3 tablespoons olive oil and, using a fork, whisk to blend. Season with salt and more pepper, if needed.
Step 2Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Gently lower in 4 large eggs and boil for 8 minutes. Remove from heat and run cold water over to quickly chill. (You could throw a few ice cubes into the bowl as well.) Once the eggs are properly chilled, peel them and set them aside until you’re ready to assemble the salad.
Step 3Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crispy on both sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and let cool. Once cool enough to handle, coarsely chop bacon and set aside.
Step 4Drain all but roughly 2 tablespoons bacon grease from the skillet. (Toss the drained grease or reserve for another purpose.) Season chicken with salt and pepper and cook in the same skillet over medium–high heat until well browned on both sides and cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer chicken to a large plate or cutting board.
Step 5Transfer any drippings (you should have at least 2 tablespoons) from the skillet to the bowl with the vinaigrette and whisk to blend, adding more olive oil if desired.
Step 6Once chicken is cool enough to handle, shred it into bite-sized pieces. (Alternatively, chop or slice it into bite-sized pieces.) Slice or chop the hard-boiled eggs.
Step 7Arrange lettuce in your largest serving bowl or platter. Drizzle about half the dressing over the lettuce and toss to combine; season with salt and pepper.
Step 8Arrange the chicken in the center of the bowl or platter in a straight line. Place the tomatoes on one side and the eggs on the other. Place the avocado next to the eggs, and the blue cheese next to the tomatoes. Sprinkle bacon in the center of the bowl. Spoon remaining dressing over the top and sprinkle with chives.