Apr 20 2009
Work (paid and unpaid) is hard, so I am going to take a moment to think about other things, and write about my favorite subject — dinner.
I made Cobb salad for dinner last night, and it was delicious. I almost never buy iceberg lettuce (yes, I am a salad hipster) but the time seemed right yesterday afternoon, in the middle of an unseasonable heatwave.
The last Cobb salad I had was at Steelhead Diner, one of my new favorite restaurants in Seattle. I got it at lunch, and their nouveau version was plated as a lettuce cup, with all the ingredients inside. It looked small on the plate but was unexpectedly rich and delicious. Ever since I’ve been thinking about the unexpected pleasure of reimagined American food, dishes made with good ingredients that remind you of why they became popular in the first place.
My salad was not terribly traditional either; I was missing half the ingredients, for one thing. I was also having artichokes last night, so I used my artichoke dressing as the base — half mayo, half yogurt, a bit of lemon juice & olive oil, salt and pepper and paparika. It comes out runny, perfect for salads. For the salad half, I added some chopped green olives. Then I boiled two eggs, fried up my remaining bacon (a couple of slices), and crumbled the above over the lettuce. Plus lots of dressing, and it ended up being eggy and crunchy and delicious.
A traditional Cobb has avocado and cheese and tomatoes, of course; I could forgo the cheese but the avocado and tomatoes is essential (next time, I’ll remember to get one). Overall, though, this seems like a perfect summer dinner — substantial and with enough protein to be filling, but light and cool as well. For the hottest days, I might serve one with a gazpacho, or a cucumber soup. You could easily make a vegetarian version, or even a vegan one if you used the original vinegarette.
It’s not so much that the Cobb salad is unhealthy; it’s that it’s a meal unto itself, whose principal ingredient happens to be lettuce. I am pleased to have rediscovered such a thing; and I’ll try more variations this summer, which promises to be so hot already.
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