My big kid is on spring break this week, which means that we’re basically partying non-stop. Pajamas until 2! Movie marathons! Park dates! Baking adventures! It’s only Tuesday and I’m exhausted which means that dinner needs to be quick and easy, with a few extra servings of good stuff to fuel me for the next day. Enter this spring cobb salad. Well…cobb-ish.
The classic cobb salad is one of my true great food loves. In my world, any salad with blue cheese and vinaigrette and bacon will always be a winner. Cameron, on the other hand, thinks it’s boring. He’s clearly wrong, but that is a food proof to be argued another day.
This spring cobb salad is loaded with veggies and healthy fats and really closely approximates the classic version. Well, except for the bacon and tomatoes. Oh and the chives. And red onions. So maybe “closely approximates” is a stretch, but we have grilled leeks and asparagus, so it’s all good.
Spring Cobb Salad Recipe Notes
I stumbled upon some good-looking purple asparagus the other day, which became the inspiration for this dish. True confessions of a home cook – I’ve never cooked purple asparagus before. I can’t really tell you why, I’ve just always gone for the green stuff with the occasional white asparagus adventure thrown in to weird out the kid. Fun fact – when you cook purple asparagus it turns green, because science (the purple pigmentation is delicate AF and breaks apart under heat). Anyway…feel free to go for the green. Or white. You be you.
Do not, I repeat, do NOT skip grilling the leeks. A combination of grilled and raw vegetables is, in my opinion, what really takes a dinner salad from “healthy and acceptable” to a culinary delight. Grilled leeks are sweet and nutty and really take the flavor profile here to the next level. Don’t skip ’em. You’ve been warned.
I had leftover roasted chicken so naturally that became my protein of choice. If you don’t share my obsession for roasted chicken, you could grill up a breast or two with the asparagus and leeks, easy peasy.
Spring break means I have no time for fussy adventures like hard-boiling and cooling eggs. So I did as the hipsters do and slapped on a poached one and it was delightful.
- 1 medium leek, halved
- 1 bunch asparagus
- 1 tbsp avocado oil
- 4 c. salad greens, rinsed, dried and coarsely chopped
- 1 c. roasted chicken, sliced or pulled (or 1 chicken breast, grilled)
- ½ english cucumber, thinly sliced
- 2 large radishes, thinly sliced
- ½ avocado, sliced
- ¼ c. blue cheese
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp white vinegar, divided
- Fresh cracked pepper
- ⅓ c. red wine vinegar
- ⅔ c. olive oil
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- pinch of sea salt
- Heat your grill or a grill pan over medium high heat. Slice the leek in half lengthwise, then rinse to remove residual dirt and pat dry. Brush the grates or the pan with olive oil. Brush the cut side of the leeks with a little more olive oil. Place the leeks cut side down on the grill along with the asparagus. Close the grill* and cook the vegetables until tender, flipping the asparagus occasionally, 8-10 minutes.
- While the vegetables are grilling, start the water bath for your poached egg and compose your salad. Bring small pot of water (4-6 cups) to a simmer over medium heat. Divide your greens between two salad plates. Top each plate of greens with half of the roasted chicken, cucumber, radish, avocado and blue cheese.
- Remove the leeks and asparagus from the grill. Transfer the asparagus to your salad plates, divided equally. Set the leeks aside on a cutting board to cool slightly while you poach the egg.
- Add 1 tsp white vinegar to the simmering water. Crack an egg into a ramekin. With a wooden spoon, stir the simmering water to create a whirlpool, and then gently tip the egg, whites first, into the center of the whirlpool. Set the timer for 3 minutes and do not touch the egg.
- While the egg is poaching, make your vinaigrette. Place the red wine vinegar, olive oil, thyme leaves and sea salt into a jar with a lid and shake vigorously.
- When the timer goes off, remove the poached egg with a slotted spoon and place atop your salad. Bring the water bath to a simmer again, add the second tsp white vinegar, and repeat the poaching process with your second egg.
- While the second egg is poaching, slice the leeks and divide them between the two salad plates.
- Drizzle the salads with the vinaigrette and serve immediately.
*When I use a grill pan, I cover the vegetables with a large cast iron skillet.