Monday, July 12, 2010

Of salad and sunshine, and sandals and shorts


I know what you’re thinking. “A salad? All the fuss of starting a new blog and you lead off with a mere salad? Where is the skill? Where is the artistry? Where, and I mean this literally, is the beef?”

If it means anything, I intended to roll out with a bigger splash. A magnificent roast with all the trimmings, perhaps? A delicate tart with neo-Gothic spires of meringue and puff pastry flying buttresses? Alas, it’s been damn hot for the last few days and the last thing I wanted to do on a sunny Sunday afternoon was stand in a sweltering kitchen just to come up with that special dish to feed my new blog baby.

In my defense, this is a really, really good salad. It’s hard to beat a combination that includes crispy bacon, fresh tomatoes and avocados and juicy roast chicken, consumed in a patch of sunlight on a July afternoon.
Quasi Cobb Salad (adapted from the Gourmet cookbook)
Serves 2

For dressing
  • 1 ½ tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
For salad
  • 1 large chicken breast, bone in and skin on
  • 1 large ripe avocado
  • 4 slices of thick-cut bacon
  • 8-10 whole cherry tomatoes
  • About 4 Cups of romaine or crisp green or red lettuce leaves, shredded
  1. Combine all dressing ingredients except oil in a clean empty jar and shake to blend Add oil and shake vigorously until emulsified.
  2. Brush chicken with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place skin side up on a foil-covered baking sheet and bake in a 450F oven for 25-30 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp, drain on paper towels and then chop.
  3. Once chicken is done, remove from oven and let cool on a rack or plate for 10 minutes or so. Transfer to a cutting board, remove skin (which should be nice and crispy) and chop. Take the meat off the bone using a fork (or your fingers) and shred.
  4. Peel, pit and chop the avocado into large chunks.
  5. Combine chicken, avocado, bacon, tomatoes and lettuce in a large salad bowl and toss with a couple tablespoons of dressing and serve.

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