It's A Keeper: Italian Cobb Salad

The Italian Cobb Salad is the first recipe I have made from Express Lane Meals, Rachael Ray's newest cookbook (I made the Leek-y Chicken with Couscous, but that was in the magazine too!). This recipe was a good one to start with! It was better than the average cobb salad because instead of just tasting the dressing, you actually taste all the ingredients and the dressing simply enhances them. I used half of all the ingredients, except I made all of the dressing and put half of it on the side. I served it with some yummy garlic bread made with the Lebanese Breeze I bought in Seattle.

We ate our dinner out on the patio as the sun was setting . . . sigh, I love California. Here's the recipe with my comments in brackets:

4 Servings

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
6 tablespoons EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)
1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme leaves, a few sprigs
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon grill seasoning, such as McCormick's Montreal Steak Seasoning
1 rounded tablespoon Dijon mustard
A few drops hot sauce, such as Tabasco [I used many drops of Frank's Hot Sauce]
2 hearts of romaine, chopped [I used mixed baby greens because I am not a fan of romaine]
Salt and black pepper
1 can quartered artichoke hearts in water, drained [I used all the artichoke hearts even though I cut the recipe in half because Husband loves them]
4 hardboiled eggs [Rachael recommends getting them from the salad bar at the market, but there isn't a salad bar at mine, so I brought water to a boil, added the eggs, then reduced the heat to a simmer and simmered them for 15 minutes.]
1/2 pound deli sliced Genoa salami or soppressata, cut into strips [I used soppressata for a little variety]
3/4 pound gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
Hot peppers, such as pepperoncini or hot Italian cherry peppers, chopped [I used pepperoncini but next time I will try the hot Italian cherry peppers because a little heat might be interesting]

Preheat a grill pan or large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. [I used the George Foreman grill and it was perfect! I love that thing.]

Combine 1 tablespoon of the balsamic vinegar and 3 tablespoons of the EVOO on a plate and add the thyme. Coat the chicken evenly in the dressing, then season the meat liberally on both sides with the grill seasoning. Add the chicken to the hot pan and cook for 6 minutes on each side. [This marinade was so good, I will probably use it for backyard BBQs on its own this summer.]

While the chicken cooks, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of the balsamic vinegar to the bottom of a large, shallow serving bowl. [I don't have a large shallow serving bowl, so I used a separate bowl to make the dressing, then arranged and dressed the salad on a deep platter.] Whisk in the mustard, hot sauce, and remaining 3 tablespoons of EVOO. Transfer the cooked chicken to a cutting board, let it rest for a couple minutes, then slice it on an angle. Set aside to cool slightly.

Add the greens to the serving bowl [or platter] and toss the dressing; season with salt and pepper to taste. Arrange the artichokes, hard-boiled eggs, salami, and gorgonzola on top of the salad in rows, with a row of cooled chicken slices down the middle. Scatter a few chopped hot peppers over the salad and serve.

Recipe from Rachael Ray, Express Lane Meals

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