Friday, August 5, 2011

cob salad

One thing I like about growing up is that now my body seems to tell me more stuff in a language I can understand. It might say: "here is a skin rash, for you are stressed." Or, "we can't stop yawning because you haven't been taking your iron." Today, at the market, my body was rambling some crap about how all the fruit and vegetables looked so colourful and ripe and juicy and then I realised that it was trying to tell me that I needed to eat the biggest mofo of a salad ever, as soon as possible.

It wasn't kidding. A couple of restless nights, a handful of skipped breakfasts and a good number of whatever-I-don't-care meals (baked potato with salt, anyone? toast with jam? a piece of cheese?) left me with a definite good-stuff deficit. Not even my new fringe, favourite geeky glasses or watching DVDs could pep me up (ps please reassure me my haircut is ok, even though all I do is work and stay home on the couch so it doesn't really matter anyway. Thanks).

This then, was the opportunity to go all out and re-imagine that giant cob salad I ate in Brooklyn, NY for lunch one day on our trip. My body told me to do it, so I did it - and it was so, so good!

Cob salads are everywhere in the States, but I'd never come across the idea until I started reading American food blogs and food writing online. I loved the whole thing right away: a big, substantial salad with chicken, tomato, boiled egg, bacon and blue cheese that is characteristically plated in the most retro way, with little coloured stripes of all the ingredients resting happily atop a big mound of cos and iceberg lettuces and watercress. So as soon as I had my first shot, I ordered one at a little cafe in Brooklyn that served lots of fresh, organic food. The salad I got was already mixed up and a little less chunkily-conceived than what I expected, but the flavours were everything I wanted and I chowed my way happily through the entire giant bowl. Which is also what I did today. Make it and you'll see why. 

I used Deb's classic cob salad recipe from Smitten Kitchen and highly recommend you do this also, but I made the following changes and notes you might want to know about:

  • I made a (roughly estimated) 1/3 quantity of Deb's recipe for one big, big salad. Probably should serve two, but I ate it all.
  • swapped the iceberg lettuce for more romaine (Cos in Australia) and watercress
  • used purchased free-range BBQ chicken for more flavour and less prep
  • swapped Stilton for Adel Blue, because I like it. It's made by La Vera in Adelaide and I think of it as the cheese that was born after stilton had sex with gorgonzola. It's buttery and not too strong and mid-priced. 
  • used (unpeeled) cherry tomatoes, cause it's still Winter here

I can't wait to make this again and again as a light meal once the weather warms up. But now I'm off to juice a bag of bright, sparkling Navel oranges. Apparently I also need Vitamin C.



  1. You look fabulous! Love love love the glasses and the fringe. I wish I could have a fringe, but curly hair = frizzy outwork SPROING from the forehead :S

  2. Dig that fringe, lady.

  3. Thanks, friends. Of course I got sick of it and grew it out. Made the salad tonnes though.


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