Summer Entertaining: Cobb Salad - Sweet Potato Chronicles

Summer Entertaining: Cobb Salad

What's the best part of sum­mer enter­tain­ing? I love that meals can be sim­ple — some grilled meat, a bit of salad, a bowl of berries — and every­one is as happy as if you'd strug­gled over some­thing com­pli­cated. It's also great that you can mostly keep peo­ple in your back­yard or on your deck and you don't have to clean your whole place… or maybe that's just me. But seri­ously, I think most peo­ple feel like food tastes bet­ter out­side so you can keep meals basic. There's none of the com­pen­sat­ing for less than thrilling winter-friendly root veg­eta­bles that goes on in colder months.

A Cobb salad is, to me, a per­fect exam­ple. An Amer­i­can lun­cheonette clas­sic, it's a meal in one dish. And when you add the grill fac­tor in the sum­mer, it becomes a super easy way to feed a crowd. It's par­tic­u­larly good for kids as they can just take the parts they like. Laura and Scar­lett came over for din­ner the night I made this. Scar­lett is aller­gic to avo­ca­dos so we skipped those in her serv­ing, Esme isn't a fan of feta, so none of that made it to her plate. We had a sim­i­lar salad to this one just the other day with slices of steak. This isn't really an issue for small kids, but for myself I like the way serv­ing meat this way means you feel like you don't need as much.

Oh, and who grilled the chicken? It was yours truly, thank you very much. I men­tioned in an ear­lier post that I intend to get more com­fort­able with the bar­be­cue this sum­mer and I'm good to my word, peo­ple. You know what I'd really like to put on the grill? A pizza. Maybe it's a bit gim­micky but peo­ple say it's great. Any SPC read­ers bar­be­cue their pizza? And let us know what your favourite sum­mer enter­tain­ing dishes are. We love to hear from you!

Cobb Salad

6 bacon slices
head of let­tuce (I love the crunch of romaine)
4 oz feta, crum­bled
1 avo­cado, make 1 inch dice
2 toma­toes, make 1 — 2 inch dice
2 chicken breasts

Mari­nade

2 Tbsp olive oil
3 cloves of gar­lic, minced
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
1/4 cup white wine vine­gar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Dress­ing

1/3 cup white wine vine­gar
1 Tbsp dijon mus­tard
2 tsp honey
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pep­per to taste

Method

Whisk together the mari­nade ingre­di­ents. Place chicken in a shal­low bowl and cover in mari­nade. Turn the breast over a cou­ple of times to make sure they get com­pletely cov­ered. Cover in cling film and place in the fridge for 10 to 30 minutes.

Place all dress­ing ingre­di­ents in a jar, put on the lid, and shake it, baby! Set aside.

Sautee bacon until crisp. Drain on a paper towel. Cut or crum­ble into small-ish pieces.

Grill chicken on the bar­be­cue until cooked through, about 5 min­utes a side depend­ing on the thick­ness of the breasts. If you're not bar­be­cu­ing you could broil the breasts on the top rack of the oven at 475 — 500 degrees. Allow the meat to rest for a few min­utes and then slice across the breasts to make thin strips.

Wash, spin and chop the let­tuce — you want fairly small pieces. Toss the let­tuce in  a bit of the dress­ing, maybe 1/4 cup or so. Make a thin layer of dressed let­tuce on a large plat­ter. Next arrange your ingre­di­ents in stripes down your plat­ter: toma­toes, avo­cado, cheese, bacon, chicken, tomato.

Give the dress­ing another shake before plac­ing it on the table. Allow peo­ple to dress their own salad (or stay the hell away from it if you're Esme).

  

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