Cobb Salad Sandwiches
for the salad:
- 3 hardboiled eggs coarsely chopped
- 1 cup cubed cooked chicken breast (about 1 breast)
- 3-4 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives
- 2 green onions sliced
- 1 oz crumbled blue cheese
- sprinkle dry mustard
the rest of it:
- 6-9 slices sourdough bread I used bread from my Wildgrain delivery
- 1 handful baby arugula or watercress!
- 2 slices crisp bacon, crumbled
- 1 avocado, cubed
- 8 cherry tomatoes, halved
- In a large bowl, gently stir together the salad ingredients. Set aside.
- Place the bread on a platter (I baked the bread fresh from the freezer and used that, feel free to toast leftover bread or use your judgment, I like untoasted). Top each with arugula. Divide the salad among each slice. Top with bacon, avocado, and tomato.
- Serve immediately.
- If you want to speed along the process, you can make the egg-chicken salad ahead of time and store it in the fridge until assembly.
- I like the bacon made fresh but that too can be prepped ahead of time.
- If you don't have rotisserie chicken or leftover chicken from another meal, poach and cool a breast.
- I made this for lunch while my husband was on a call. I knew he would eat it within 30 minutes or so and not care that much about layering so I mixed the bacon, tomato, and avocado into the salad and refrigerated it until he was ready. Which turned out to be like 2 minutes later but how was I to know? If you do mix it all together for some reason, be forewarned it does get watery very quickly. Not two minutes quickly but we had a smidge left and it was tasty but damp about 4 hrs later.
I had this idea for a sort of open-faced Cobb Salad. I am not a huge green salad fan but if I had to pick a favorite, it would be the Cobb. I made it 10 years ago(!) for one of our themed New Year’s Eve movie marathons (the 1930s) and made a different sandwich version with leftover turkey later that same year. I even made a “winter” version based on a not very traditional Cobb I had in Alexandria, VA. It is a salad that has literally all the things I like in a salad and sort of a bitter edge thanks to all the greens you are supposed to include.
Despite enjoying it, I can’t say I’ve made the actual salad again in the last decade. There is a reason why it is so popular at restaurants. It’s kind of a pain. It’s simple enough to make but the sheer number of ingredients and their prep is a little exhausting. Traditionally it is supposed iceberg lettuce, watercress, endives, and romaine lettuce plus chives and chicken you have to fry or poach, bacon you have to cook, and eggs you have to hardboil. Plus you need ripe avocados and tomatoes! I find that cherry tomatoes are your best bet out of season so that means I don’t have to wait until August to make it which is at least something. But once you see that ingredient list you really understand why the back story of the salad is of a chef pulling together ingredients from the kitchen late at night, post-dinner service. Who else has all those ingredients at their fingertips?
I had the idea to make it into a sandwich by combining the egg, dressing, chicken, and cheese into a creamy sandwich salad (I don’t know if that’s the right term but that’s why I call salads you plop on some bread or crackers), serve it on some crusty bread and top it with the remaining ingredients of bacon, avocado, tomato, and lettuce. I eliminated some of the greens but it still took a lot of prep! I kept putting it off because it still required a lot of ingredients I don’t always have on hand. Making it into a sandwich also raised the bread question. I know I wanted sourdough because the flavors of the salad are so bold but that meant I either had to make bread the morning I made the sandwich or had to go out to get bread that morning. Neither option sounded great. Two plus years into the pandemic have left me a bit fried when it comes to sourcing and prepping food. I don’t know how my mom made virtually all of the meals she ate her entire adult life.
Then Wildgrain got in touch and wanted to send me some of their frozen bread and pasta to try. Finally, the last piece of the puzzle fell into place. I had already decided to wait until my next trip to Costco so I could get a rotisserie chicken and save my sanity so now I had a loaf of bread waiting in my freezer. We hardboiled the eggs ahead of time, sourced ripe avocados (thanks Safeway for your handy “ripe” stickers) and I used some leftover arugula from Monday’s dinner. I had wanted watercress for both but Giant didn’t sell it and I didn’t have it in me to keep looking. Arugula really did work just as well, it also has sort of a bitter, peppery flavor I think you need with all the cheese, mayo, and eggs.
We both loved it! It had that crunchy (thanks to the crusty bread), creamy, bitter, juicy texture mix that I love and each component was just so delicious. It was totally worth the effort and I would very much like someone to make it again for me one day.