Cobb salad

I’ve just come back from a few days away on the coast in Deal in Kent, spending time with my son and meeting up with my daughter who lives nearby in Canterbury.

On the first day we went to Broadstairs, to Botany Bay, as the weather was lovely. We were starving after spending time on the beach and tried a local pub for dinner – but we waited ages for a menu, and sitting at a table outside which was really dirty from previous customers (not great in this immediate post lockdown era is it?) so we left to try somewhere else.  The reception at the pub was also frosty as if we were doing them a favour by showing up – it was so unwelcoming (what’s happened to good customer service?)

Eaterie number two was a Broadstairs tapas restaurant. The menu looked great but incredibly expensive – £23.50 per person for just three dishes each and restricted to choosing items from specific sections. Only two of us were eating which we explained when we ordered. They took our order but 10 minutes later the chef appeared pointing to the menu – we thought he was going to say one of our options wasn’t available but he said we all had to eat the set menu as otherwise he could use the four place table for another cover (there were three of us). This was around 8.00pm and there was no queue and still empty places left in the restaurant. We were all planning to have dessert and our total bill would have exceeded £55, so this seemed a strange way to treat customers. I’ve never come across this before, Covid crisis or not. So we had to leave.

By this time we were starving and it was getting late so we rolled up at a McDonald’s for a Big Mac and where we were greeted with a really friendly reception – staff saying it was so nice to welcome us back and asking about our day. Thankfully our Airbnb house was also fantastic and the rest of the stay went well – a walk around Sandwich and Pegwell Country Park and lots of lazing on the beach at Deal getting plenty of fresh sea air. I spent most of my time lying staring up at the sky and listening to the seagulls – as good as meditation.

Back home last night I fancied something simple, quick and fairly light. Cobb salad is one of those retro recipes (originating from the US) and can be made up of a variety of ingredients – but at its heart is a really crisp salad (I’ve used gem lettuce). The quality of the dressing  can make or break a Cobb salad –  the Roquefort gives it an amazing flavour. You can experiment with the amount of Roquefort in the dressing, depending on how tangy you like it – I don’t like mine too strong.

Serves two.

Ingredients

  • 1 large crispy lettuce (eg gem or Romaine lettuce)
  • 2 chicken thighs
  • 2 rashers of smoked bacon (I use Naked Bacon by Finnebrogue which is nitrate free)
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • About 2 heaped tablespoons of sweetcorn
  • 1 avocado, roughly chopped
  • 2 hardboiled eggs, sliced
  • A punnet of cress

Dressing

Mix the following well (use a fork to mash the cheese).

  • Roquefort cheese to taste (I used about 25g)
  • 100 mls buttermilk
  • Tablespoon olive oil
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of Worcester sauce
  •  Ground black pepper

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
  2. Wrap each chicken thigh in a rasher of bacon and cook for 25 minutes (leave to rest).
  3. Wash the lettuce and prep the rest of the salad ingredients, served in a bowl or on platter.
  4. Slice the chicken and bacon and add to the salad.
  5. Serve with the dressing.
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Deal seafront

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