Homer Simpson once admonished his daughter Lisa saying, “You don’t win friends with salad.” WRONG, Homer. You can totally win friends with salad. This is most especially true when we are talking about Tex-Mex Cob Salad.
Tex-Mex Cobb Salad is nothing less than a miracle worker around here. My entire family (not 1, not 2, not 3, but all 7 of us) came down with the One Flu to Rule Them All almost three weeks ago. In that time, we spent hours on the couch not eating, not thinking food, not exerting ourselves, and in short, being the total opposite of the food-centric, boisterous, seriously active family that we usually are.
After 14 days of feeling like I’d never want to look at or eat food again, I finally got my kitchen mojo back when I used up vegetables that had been hanging out patiently in the refrigerator just waiting for us to feel like we could venture past our two-weeks-long foray into a mild soup based diet and created this serious Tex-Mex Cobb Salad. We are talking about a bed of romaine lettuce absolutely bursting forth with diced cucumbers, tomatoes, red bell peppers, black beans, roasted corn, carnitas, green onions, hard boiled eggs, cilantro, olives, limes, avocados, and hot pepper cheese. To say we were ready for this is the understatement of the century. We lit into this salad like it was manna from on high.
And I could be wrong, but I’m relatively sure that the accompanying Fritos-as-croutons really sealed the deal on our recovery. Shhh. I’m still weak. Don’t argue with me.
- There’s not a lot of real ‘cooking’ that goes into this, it’s more an exercise in reducing your vegetables to small pieces of roughly the same size. Don’t sweat perfection here, the goal is just to be able to get several little pieces of different things into each bite. That’s the real joy of salads to me.
- Please note there is no salad dressing recipe given with Tex-Mex Cobb Salad. The reason is this: I prefer it without dressing. Between the hard boiled eggs, beans, avocados, cheese, and lime juice, I think it has plenty of flavour and creaminess included. If you prefer, this salad would also be good with a salad dressing made of 2 parts sour cream or plain yogurt to 1 part salsa. I don’t think it needs it, though, so try it plain first.
- On a similar note, make sure each serving gets a wedge or two of lime juice to squeeze over the top. It really makes the salad POP.
- Regarding the carnitas or pulled pork, I’d recommend using THIS one first, or this one. Purchased pulled pork will work well, too.
- I would say this salad yields 6 good sized side salads, 4 fair sized entree salads, or 2 very-generous-because-I’m-hungry-getting-over-the-flu adult sized portions with 2 less-recovered-teen-boy-still-fairly-generous servings to boot.
- Fritos are technically optional, but only because we ran out of them halfway through eating the salad and agreed that it was fine to continue without driving to the store to buy more. Do as you see fit.
Use these to make a Tex-Mex Cobb Salad:
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Tex Mex Cobb Salad
- 1 fresh ear of corn kernels cut from the cob, or 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
- 1 heart of romaine lettuce cored, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 2 hard boiled eggs peeled and thinly sliced
- 3/4 cup fully cooked black beans canned or homemade, drained and rinsed
- 3/4 cup halved cherry tomatoes or chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 of an English cucumber cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 1/2 of a red bell pepper cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 1/3 cup kalamata or black olives drained
- 1 cup leftover carnitas or pulled pork
- 2 green onions root end trimmed, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup small cubes habanero cheddar or pepper jack cheese about 4 ounces
- 1 avocado cut into cubes and sprinkled with lime juice to prevent browning
- 1 fresh lime cut into wedges
Optional, but tasty:
- Fritos for croutons
Place a cast-iron or other heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat and let it get hot enough for water to skitter over the surface when sprinkled on the pan. Add the corn and a generous pinch of salt and stir. Let the corn dry fry in the pan for three minutes, or until the corn is fragrant, has released some liquid, and has some golden brown spots. Transfer the corn to a plate to cool.
On a large serving platter, arrange the bite sized pieces of romaine lettuce. Arrange the remaining ingredients on top of the lettuce in stripes in the following order: cilantro leaves, hard boiled egg slices, black beans, tomatoes, cucumber cues, red bell pepper cubes, olives, carnitas or pulled pork, and thinly sliced green onions. Arrange the avocado cubes and cheese cubes along the sides perpendicularly to the other stripes. Scatter lime wedges over the salad and serve. If desired, Fritos make a wonderful garnish.