"Our House" Cobb Salad and Vinaigrette with Fresh Chives

"Our House" Cobb Salad
Cobb Salad is traditionally a chopped salad arranged with specific rows of ingredients across a bed of greens.  What I like about it is that you can arrange everything on a large platter and each person helps themselves to the portion they would like as if it were a salad bar on a smaller scale.  Or, you can make up a smaller platter for each person as I am doing for supper tonight.  If you have followed me for awhile you know what is coming.....I go crazy every spring with salads and it shows up right here!  BIG plus, I have fresh chives that have wintered over on the patio that I am dying to use today!

Molly (our dog) just ventured out in the rain with me to cut these lovely fresh chives that have wintered over on our patio.
It is worth mentioning that I am a huge fan of Sara Foster who operates Foster's Market in California. She is a wonderful chef and celebrates fresh everything local which is attuned with my thinking.   The Vinaigrette I am using is adapted from one of her recipes.  Anything she makes sounds wonderful to me!  I am also a huge fan of the similar French vinaigrette's often used by Julia Child.

Ingredients for "Our House" Cobb Salad:

1/2 head of romaine washed drained and trimmed to about 1" pieces
2 C. spinach, arugula, or other lettuce, washed stems removed trimmed and drained
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 large hard cooked eggs peeled and sliced
6 slices bacon, fried crisp, crumbled, and drained
1/2 cucumber, seeds removed, peeled, and sliced
1 large or 2 small avocados, halved, pitted, and diced into fresh lemon juice to retard browning
2 grilled boneless skinless chicken breasts halves seasoned and sliced
1/2 pound cherry tomatoes or chopped whole tomato
1 can of kidney beans drained, rinsed, and marinated in vinaigrette
1/4 pound crumbled blue cheese
1 C. fresh toasted croutons, optional

 Red Wine Vinaigrette with Fresh Chives

1/3 C. red wine vinegar
2 t. Dijon mustard
1/2 C. extra virgin olive oil
2 T. fresh chopped chives
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Early in the day prepare the Vinaigrette by whisking the vinegar and mustard together in a small bowl.   While whisking add the olive oil in a slow steady stream.  Whisking constantly until all is incorporated.  Stir in the chives and the salt and pepper to taste.  If you are not using immediately withhold adding the chives until just before serving.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

After adding 1/4 c. of the dressing to the drained beans refrigerate both the beans and remaining dressing until serving.
Using a small bowl add the drained and rinsed kidney beans and 1/4 C. of the vinaigrette and mix well.  Cover and set aside in the refrigerator to marinade and chill until serving time.

Just before serving time.......
Place the greens in a bowl and drizzle with about 1/4 C. of the vinaigrette and toss.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Heap the greens onto a large platter or divide them between 2-3 individual plates.  Arrange the ingredients in distinct rows over the greens.  Drizzle with the remaining 1/4 C. of the dressing and serve immediately.

Brian doesn't like avocados and goes light on cucumbers.
I think this salad is particularly nice for us because of the Vitamin K restrictions which require a limit on the amount of leafy greens my husband can eat due to interaction with one of his prescriptions.  I cut back on the greens and pump up the other ingredients and he is perfectly happy.  As a salad lover it is important to me that he is able to continue and enjoy them as before.  I doubt he notices the difference.

Yield 2-3 full meal salads.

Note:  Make this chopped salad your own by varying the ingredients and the dressings.

Another thought....My friends Sue and Myrna at The Iowa Housewife make a wonderful Chive and Buttermilk yeast bread in the spring with fresh chives.  Hum, I think I need to get going on that tomorrow,  it is delicious!  

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