Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Farmers’ Market Summer Cobb Salad

Summer is the best time for salads because the warm weather makes it perfect for a light meal. But it’s also because this time of year there’s a variety of ingredients that you can use to build your salad with.

One of my favorite salads (although I don’t eat it that often because of the bacon) is a Cobb Salad. I love it because of the presentation, with all the chunks of ingredients before you like a rainbow. And it’s a very hearty salad that can really feel like a meal worth biting into.

I decided I was going to build a Cobb Salad with ingredients that I find at my local farmers’ market. Right now, we’re seeing an abundance of produce at the markets so you can get really creative building a salad from what’s fresh and in season.

This past Sunday I went to my local farmers’ market in the Temescal neighborhood. This is one of the smaller markets in my area (but most convenient because I can walk to it) so it was a challenge trying to get ingredients close to a traditional Cobb salad. But I think I did pretty well. Here’s a look at what I bought to make my salad:

A. Prather Ranch’s Whiskey Maple Sage Sausages, $7
B. Flame and Black Prince varieties of heirloom tomatoes, Lucero Farms (Lodi, Calif.), $2.99/lb.
C. Avocado from a farm in Temecula, Calif., $1.50 each
D. Cowgirl Creamery Herb Fromage Blanc cheese, $6
E. Red Leafy Lettuce and a red bell pepper, Pinnacle/Phil Foster Ranch (San Juan Bautista, Calif.), $3.50
F. Honey Wheat Bread from Feel Good Bakery (Alameda, Calif.), $5
G. Organic feta cheese from Spring Hill Jersey Cheese, $4.94
H. Golden beets from VB Farms (Watsonville, Calif.), $1.75
I. Lemon cucumbers and chives from Happy Boy Farms, $2.50
J. Half a dozen large brown eggs, Glaum’s Organic (Aptos, Calif.), $2.25

Putting together the salad was pretty simple, although my version took some time because I had to prep some ingredients. I had a craving for the beets, so I had to spend some time roasting them in the oven and then peeling them. I also hard-boiled one egg ahead of time and sautéed chunks of one sausage to render off some of the fat and to make sure it was cooked before adding it to the salad.

Once I got those ingredients out of the way, everything else was simply just washing, rinsing and cutting into chunks. (If you’re keeping track, the rest included lemon cucumbers, heirloom tomatoes, red bell pepper, avocado, the leafy lettuce and feta cheese. A traditional Cobb Salad would have roquefort cheese, but none of the cheese mongers had that.)

For the dressing, I did have to go to Safeway to buy some low-fat buttermilk to make a Ranch-style dressing. So I started with ½ cup of buttermilk and whipped in the amazing Herb Fromage Blanc I got from the Cowgirl Creamery booth (this is optional but I took a bite and couldn’t resist buying it) and a tablespoon of finely chopped chives. I tossed in a pinch of salt and that was it. If you like, you can thicken the dressing more with either some mayonnaise or sour cream. Add a little at a time until you get the consistency you want.

I assembled my Farmers’ Market Summer Cobb Salad and then served it up with some slices of the wheat bread. It was quite a filling lunch.

So this weekend, go visit your farmers’ market and get creative in making up your own Cobb Salad! Enjoy!


hungry dog said...

I love Cobb salad. I always forget how long salads can take to assemble, seems like they should be quicker. But working with beets is always a time commitment. Yours looks awesome. And any salad that includes sausage is a winner in my book!

foodhoe said...

Single guy sounds like a very inventive and delicious cobb salad!

egg to the apples said...

I love the picture of the breakdown of all of your ingredients, awesome idea.

Carolyn Jung said...

That's a mother lode of farm freshness. And kudos to you for making your salad the very definition of "local.''

Kim said...

Very clever diagram!