I LOVE a good cobb salad, which can be real hard to find. The basic idea of a cobb salad is that it’s a meat salad. I mean, as long as all the parts are prepared well, then combined in a balanced way, you’re golden. We’ve all heard the story that the cobb salad was first created at the famous Brown Derby Restaurant in Los Angeles, CA. Restaurant manager Bob Cobb was using up leftovers and voila! the cobb salad was born. There can be many varieties of this salad. I had a salmon cobb salad yesterday. It was pretty good, but today, I made my version of that salad to make myself a GREAT cobb salad. (Poof! I’m a cobb salad!)
Sometimes, I will make a few extra portions of a meal and eat them over the course of a couple days. Salmon can be tricky to make ahead. Seafood, in general, can be tricky to make ahead. So the best way to ensure you won’t get ill from seafood is to buy fresh and cook it yourself. Then you know you have about 2 days to eat the seafood. The general rule is 4 days for other kinds of meats. If you cook the salmon yourself, the clock starts ticking from the moment you cook it. Keep yourself healthy and protect the high quality ingredients you spend good money on.
I started with amazing fresh greens from the farmer's market. I used bibb lettuce and a bit of arugula. You can use any kind of salad greens you like. Using the idea of the cobb salad as a "meat salad," I boiled some eggs and cooked off some bacon. Sounds good just like that, huh? Mmmm!
Next, you'll want to cook your salmon. I make a mixture of olive oil, rosemary, garlic cloves, lemon juice and the lemon halves in the oil. Let this sit for a little while to let the flavors meld. When you're ready to get your salmon started, just place your salmon fillets in the oil mixture and start heating your skillet on medium high heat. Get your salmon out of the oil and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. You don't need to wipe off the oil, this will just help your salmon to release from the pan. Put the salmon in the hot pan, flesh side down. This is your presentation side, so let it get a good crust on it. After about 4 minutes, turn the salmon over to the skin side and let it hang out for another 4 minutes or so. It's easy to slide your spatula under the salmon and separate it from the skin at this point.
Make yourself a dressing. I made this one with sun-dried tomato vinaigrette. Simmer a couple sun-dried tomato halves in a cup of water for a few minutes. Don’t be tempted to use too many tomatoes. The tomato flavor will be strong enough with just the 2 halves. Once they’re softened, drain them and chop them up. Add the minced sun-dried tomatoes to a medium sized bowl and add 1 ½ TBSP of balsamic vinegar, 1 ½ TBSP of red wine vinegar, some minced garlic and drizzle in 1/3 cup of olive oil while whisking until nicely emulsified. I would recommend doing this by hand. I tried to use my Nutribullet for the job and it became all gummy.
Then, you’re ready to assemble your salad. If you plan to eat it right away, toss the greens in the dressing and pile the greens onto a plate. Then arrange the toppings. Sometimes, I line up the meats and veggies, and sometimes, I just layer them over the greens. It’s a salad. If you’re making it ahead, don’t dress the lettuce. You’ll keep the greens crisp that way.
Crumble up the bacon and sprinkle on top, throw some julienned sun-dried tomatoes all over, chop up some medium to hard boiled egg and scatter them around, (I may have added some bleu cheese, but I'm a freak like that) break your salmon up into nice flakey pieces and give yourself a piece of lemon. I had mine cut while I was cooking the salmon, so I laid it cut side down in the pan and gave it some color.
Sprinkle the top with some dill and you’re set to eat a healthy, delicious salmon cobb salad that you will keep in your food arsenal for years to come.