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California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette gives the Cobb Salad a west coast spin with the addition of crisp cucumber, sweet strawberries, and creamy avocado.

California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette | iowagirleats.com

I’m back!

A few days ago I was sipping mocktails at Mundaka and gazing at The Lone Cyprus on the iconic 17 Mile Drive along the Pacific coastline.

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Today I was stopping to smell the lilacs on a walk around the neighborhood. As always, modern travel never ceases to amaze me!

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BTW – I semi shrieked out oud when I saw these babies blooming on my favorite lilac bush near my house (what, you don’t have a favorite lilac bush in your ‘hood?) When I left for California they were just baby buds but today they were full-fledged, aromatic blooms. I could smell them from a block away – SWOON! I can’t wait for the peony bushes in the neighborhood to start flowering next!

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At any rate, you can take the girl out of California, but you can’t take the California out of the girl and despite the fact that I’m home sweet home, I seemed to have left my taste buds out west. The first thing I did today was walk to the grocery store (after having to turn around halfway there because I forgot money – d’oh!) to get the ingredients for a California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette to make for lunch.

California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette | iowagirleats.com

After three days of eating salads with the Dole folks, you’d think I would have had enough for one week, but it actually inspired me to get even more creative with my greens and give ’em a California spin. I thought about this combination the entire way home yesterday.

California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette | iowagirleats.com

See, a Cobb Salad normally contains a fixed mix of meats, cheeses, and vegetables, which I kept some of, but to give it a west coast spin I also added cool and breezy ingredients like crisp cucumber, sweet strawberries, and creamy avocado.

California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette | iowagirleats.com

Drizzled with a homemade Tarragon Vinaigrette, this was the best combo of crispy, creamy, sweet, savory – and not to mention so filling. This ain’t no side salad. This is a meal. 

California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette | iowagirleats.com

Start the Cobb Salad by preparing 4 hard boiled eggs. Want to know how to get perfect hard boiled eggs every time? Add eggs to a saucepan then fill with cool water 1″ above the tops.

California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette | iowagirleats.com

Bring the water to a boil, remove the pan from the heat, then place a lid on top and let them sit for 12 minutes for large eggs (9 for medium, 15 for XL.)

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Drain then submerge in cold water and use right away, or peel then stash in the fridge. Perfect every time!

California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette | iowagirleats.com

BTW – in celebration of National Egg Month, a few weeks ago I visited Rose Acre Farms in Stuart, IA to check out how they’re contributing to the 15 billion (with a B!) eggs that Iowa produces each year – the most of any state in the country. You can read about my visit on the Join My Journey site > (Note to self: enough with the hair nets!)

California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette | iowagirleats.com

Next, get to chopping the fresh ingredients for the salad including 1 cup each tomatoes, cucumbers, and strawberries and 1 avocado. There was a strawberry farm right down the road from Carmel Valley Ranch, where I stayed this week, and I pressed my nose against the glass every time we passed by. The strawberries I had each morning for breakfast, and in several desserts, were indescribably sweet. Fresh from the earth. Mmm!

California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette | iowagirleats.com

When the eggs have cooled, chop ’em up, then also cook/chop 1/2lb chicken breasts and 1/2lb bacon. Use leftovers for both, if you have ’em!

California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette | iowagirleats.com

Finally, turn to zee greens. I like Cobb Salads made with hearty lettuces that stand up to the weight of the toppings, so I bought Dole’s Italian Blend which combines crispy romaine lettuce with hearty radicchio to act as the bed for the flavorful ingredients on top.

California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette | iowagirleats.com

Ready? Set. Assemble!

California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette | iowagirleats.com

And serve. :)

California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette | iowagirleats.com

California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette

Description

California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette gives the Cobb Salad a west coast spin with the addition of crisp cucumber, sweet strawberries, and creamy avocado.

Ingredients

Serves 4

  • 10oz mixed greens
  • 1/2lb chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
  • 1/2lb bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1 cup chopped strawberries
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • For the Tarragon Vinaigrette:
    • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
    • 2 Tablespoon raspberry blush vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
    • 10-12 tarragon leaves, torn
    • 1 small shallot, roughly chopped
    • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
    • salt & pepper
    • 6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Directions

  1. For the Tarragon Vinaigrette: combine all ingredients except olive oil in a food processor or blender. Slowly stream in olive while processing until smooth. Taste and adjust salt & pepper if necessary then place into the refrigerator.
  2. Divide lettuce between four plates then divide toppings between plates. Drizzle with Tarragon Vinaigrette then serve.

Notes

  • Make vinaigrette up to several days ahead of time. Cook and chop proteins and other toppings ahead of time. Serve strawberries at room-temperature for the best flavor.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.

California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette | iowagirleats.com

You could drizzle the salad with your favorite dressing or make an easy Tarragon Vinaigrette, like I did. I’ve been seeing tarragon this, and tarragon that for weeks, and have never tried the herb, so I thought I’d give it a go in this vinaigrette. It was wonderful!

California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette | iowagirleats.com

Start by plucking 10-12 tarragon leaves form the stem, then tearing them up and adding to a food processor or blender. Tarragon tastes like licorice – it’s wild. And really, really good. The dressing didn’t taste anything at all like licorice, rather, it had a nice herby flavor. Very mild.

California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette | iowagirleats.com

Next add 2 Tablespoons each lemon juice and raspberry blush vinegar (could use red wine vinegar,) salt and pepper, and 1 small shallot, roughly chopped.

California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette | iowagirleats.com

Place a lid on top then slowly stream in 6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil when processing or blending, and then taste and adjust salt and pepper if necessary.

California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette | iowagirleats.com

Between the California avocados and sweet strawberries, and salty bacon and juicy tomatoes, each bite of this salad was a new experience. Hope you love it as much as I did!

California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette | iowagirleats.com