California Cobb Salad with Creamy Dill Dressing
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup scallions, sliced
¼ cup fresh baby dill leaves
1 tbsp. lemon zest
2 tbsp. lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 cups fresh baby spinach leaves, (large stems removed)
3 hard-boiled eggs, shells removed
1 cup cooked ham, cut into small dice
1 avocado, cut into small chunks
1 cup goat cheese, crumbled
1 cup blanched or roasted asparagus, cut into inch-long pieces
1 cup roasted red bell pepper, diced
1 cup scallion, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
Paprika, for garnish
STEP 1:Make dressing: Place the buttermilk, mayonnaise, scallions, dill, lemon zest and juice into a blender pitcher. Process until the scallion and dill are minced. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour dressing into a serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in a refrigerator until salad is ready.
STEP 2:Put salad together: Place two cups of the baby spinach leaves on the bottom of a large, clear glass bowl (a straight-sided bowl is ideal). Next, quarter on of the hard-boiled eggs and set it aside for garnish. Coarsely chop the remaining two eggs and scatter them over the spinach leaves. Carefully sprinkle a little salt and pepper over the egg. Carefully place the diced ham in an even layer on to of the egg. Next, sprinkle the avocado over the ham. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the avocado.
STEP 3:Place two more cups of the spinach leaves evenly over the avocado. Layer the goat cheese crumbles over the spinach, then scatter the roasted asparagus evenly over the goat cheese. Scatter the chopped roasted pepper over the asparagus. Sprinkle the roasted pepper with a pinch of salt and a grinding of pepper. Scatter the scallion over the red peppers.
STEP 4:Carefully place the last two cups of spinach in an even layer over the top of the salad. Place the quarters of hard-boiled egg in a decorative manner on the top of the salad. Sprinkle each piece of egg with a little paprika, if desired.
STEP 5:Serve the salad: Remove the dressing from refrigerator. Allow guests to serve themselves salad and dressing. Makes 6 to 8 salads. Salad can be covered in plastic and refrigerated for a day. Sprinkling a little lemon juice over the avocado before layering it in will help prevent browning.
Chef’s Note: this salad is the perfect way to use up extra ingredients from your Easter holiday lunch, or just after you’ve cleaned out your fridge. Any ingredient can be omitted or substituted. Poached salmon could take the place of the Easter ham. Or, try other veggies like cooked baby peas, diced carrot, artichokes- whatever you’ve got on hand. This salad is so pretty served as a layered salad in a large clear bowl- dressing on the side- but you can always plate the salad on a large platter, like a traditional Cobb salad.