Saturday, March 24, 2007

Clean-out-the-fridge Cobb Salad

One of the best ways to clean out a veggie drawer or fridge is to make Cobb salad, as long as your produce is still in good shape, of course. On Friday I used almost every scrap of vegetable I could find left in the fridge, and the salad turned out pretty good! Slightly blog-worthy, only because Cobb salad is so picture-perfect with its neat rows of whatever you want to put on it. I should mention here that the plate the salad is on is one I think is very ugly, but almost unbreakable, which is a priority with a toddler in the house.

On to the ingredients:
Romaine and iceburg lettuce, red onion, english cucumber, roma tomatoes (yes, I know they're not in season), hard-boiled eggs, smoked gouda and honey ham (yes, the kind at the deli counter), and the all-important avocado. Remember, I used what I had...I know Cobb salad should have blue cheese and bacon, and I should probably keep those ingredients in my kitchen in case of emergency, but I don't. I made a quick vinaigrette with shallots, garlic, dijon, red wine vinegar, olive oil and s&p, which I tossed the lettuces in before plating the salads. I also drizzled more vinaigrette on top of all the good stuff. When I have red onion on a salad, the only way I can enjoy it if it's super-thin, or else it seems to overpower other flavors. I love english cukes because you can eat the peel and seeds without gagging, plus when the peel is left on cucumbers I'm able to more easily identify my food, and it looks more like how nature made it. Now about those out-of-season tomatoes: I know, I know, spare me the lecture....there are two things I prefer to have tomatoes on, even when they're out of season: sandwiches and salads. It's just a vice of mine, I always have to have the tomatoes. I got pretty lucky this time, at least they weren't white in the middle and crunchy.
I worked in restaurants for a few years, and one of the standards that stuck with me was the perfect hard-boiled egg. I can't stand to see a blueish-green ring around an overcooked yolk. I brought water to a boil, put a few large eggs (straight outta the fridge) in for 15 minutes, then pulled them out into an icebath. To make peeling easier I cracked the shells in a few places as I put them in the icebath...I think this allows water to go between the membrane and the meat, which would allow for easier separation. It definitely makes a difference.
I also had honey ham to use up, a good sub for bacon on salad, so I sliced it into ribbons. It worked well as a salty, smoky element, which was repeated by the smoked gouda. The avocados have been sitting in my fruit bowl all week waiting to ripen...they've been on super-sale lately and I couldn't pass them up, even when they were hard as a rock! They were perfectly ripe by friday, and as you can see in the pic there's not much more beautiful than a perfect avocado. That's my trusty 10" Wustof, Bob, in the background. I also have a perfect saucing spoon named Phil, but that's a story for another day, and I'm getting off track. I ran outside and grabbed some chives and flatleaf parsley to chop and garnish the salad, but I don't think they really added much. I think it would have been better if it was a nicoise salad and I tossed the potatoes in herbs. Anyway, all in all it was one of my better clean-out-the-fridge dinners, inspired by the warm weather lately so conducive to salad enjoyment! -K

1 comment:

Abby (A.C.A.B.) said...

I was reading your previous posts and ran across the one regarding Fox & Goose. After having tried their breakfasts, I was curious about their lunch/dinner menu. My reaction was that it is sub par in comparison to the omelets and eggs benedict we had. So I definitely recommend trying their breakfast entries out--including their ollalieberry scone...real yummy!