What’s the best part of summer entertaining? I love that meals can be simple – some grilled meat, a bit of salad, a bowl of berries – and everyone is as happy as if you’d struggled over something complicated. It’s also great that you can mostly keep people in your backyard or on your deck and you don’t have to clean your whole place… or maybe that’s just me. But seriously, I think most people feel like food tastes better outside so you can keep meals basic. There’s none of the compensating for less than thrilling winter-friendly root vegetables that goes on in colder months.
A Cobb salad is, to me, a perfect example. An American luncheonette classic, it’s a meal in one dish. And when you add the grill factor in the summer, it becomes a super easy way to feed a crowd. It’s particularly good for kids as they can just take the parts they like. Laura and Scarlett came over for dinner the night I made this. Scarlett is allergic to avocados so we skipped those in her serving, Esme isn’t a fan of feta, so none of that made it to her plate. We had a similar salad to this one just the other day with slices of steak. This isn’t really an issue for small kids, but for myself I like the way serving meat this way means you feel like you don’t need as much.
Oh, and who grilled the chicken? It was yours truly, thank you very much. I mentioned in an earlier post that I intend to get more comfortable with the barbecue this summer and I’m good to my word, people. You know what I’d really like to put on the grill? A pizza. Maybe it’s a bit gimmicky but people say it’s great. Any SPC readers barbecue their pizza? And let us know what your favourite summer entertaining dishes are. We love to hear from you!
- For the salad:
- 6 bacon slices
- head of lettuce (I love the crunch of romaine)
- 4 oz feta, crumbled
- 1 avocado, make 1 inch dice
- 2 tomatoes, make 1 - 2 inch dice
- 2 chicken breasts
- for the marinade:
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp fresh thyme
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- For the dressing:
- 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
- 2 tsp honey
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
Whisk together the marinade ingredients.
Place chicken in a shallow bowl and cover in marinade.
Turn the breast over a couple of times to make sure they get completely covered.
Cover in cling film and place in the fridge for 10 to 30 minutes.
Place all dressing ingredients in a jar, put on the lid, and shake it, baby! Set aside.
Sautee bacon until crisp. Drain on a paper towel. Cut or crumble into small-ish pieces.
Grill chicken on the barbecue until cooked through, about 5 minutes a side depending on the thickness of the breasts.
If you're not barbecuing you could broil the breasts on the top rack of the oven at 475 - 500 degrees. Allow the meat to rest for a few minutes and then slice across the breasts to make thin strips.
Wash, spin and chop the lettuce - you want fairly small pieces.
Toss the lettuce in a bit of the dressing, maybe 1/4 cup or so.
Make a thin layer of dressed lettuce on a large platter.
Next arrange your ingredients in stripes down your platter: tomatoes, avocado, cheese, bacon, chicken, tomato.
Give the dressing another shake before placing it on the table. Allow people to dress their own salad
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