Thursday, May 1, 2014

Spring Cobb Salad

Cobb salad is a classic that's open to interpretation. I've seen a lot of variations of it over the years, particularly with regard to the meats (turkey, chicken, bacon or some combination). Last year, I made a modernized version with a fresher combination of ingredients. This year, I'm offering this spring-themed version that uses fresh asparagus instead of of avocado and complements its bright flavor with scallions and goat cheese instead of the typical blue.

Spring Cobb Salad

2 large eggs
4 strips of thick, smoky bacon, cut into 1/4-inch strips (lardons)
1 bunch of asparagus, hard ends trimmed off and discarded, stalks cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups of baby arugula leaves
8 grape tomatoes, halved
2-3 scallions, white part finely chopped, green part chopped on an angle
3 tbsp. chopped fresh mint
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. honey
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 oz. chèvre goat cheese, crumbled

1. Hard-cook the eggs: place the eggs in a medium sauce pan and cover with cold water until there is an inch of water above the eggs. Heat over medium-high heat until the water boils. Immediately remove pan from heat, cover and let sit for 10 minutes. Then place eggs in ice water for 5 minutes (this makes them easier to peel). Carefully crack eggs all over, roll gently on a hard surface, and then use your hands to remove the shell, starting at the less-pointy end. Rinse the peeled eggs and slice into fourths.

2. Cook the bacon over medium heat until browned and crisp. Transfer to a  paper-towel-lined plate.

3. Cook the asparagus: fill a large saucepan about halfway, salt the water and bring to a boil. Drop in the asparagus and cook for about 2-3 minutes until tender but still crisp. Remove asparagus from water once cooked.

4. Combine the arugula, scallions, mint, bacon and asparagus in a large bowl. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper and pour over the salad. Toss to combine. Divide into bowls and serve topped with hard-cooked eggs and goat cheese crumbles.

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