Playing Statement Salad: Rachael's Chipotle Chicken Cobb with Avocado Goddess-Ranch

The classic Cobb salad gets an update with smoky-spicy BBQ chicken and a creamy ranch-inspired dressing.

Ingredients
For the Avocado Goddess-Ranch:
  • 2 scallions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 avocado, pitted and scooped from skin
  • 1 lime
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup flat parsley, or cilantro tops
  • 1/4 cup dill tops
  • 2 teaspoons green hot sauce, or 1 small seeded green chili pepper
  • Salt and pepper
For the Barbecue Sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons canned chipotles in adobo sauce, pasted or pureed
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, or smoked soy sauce (smoked shoyu)
  • One 8-ounce can tomato sauce, or ketchup
For the Salad:
  • 12 slices meaty bacon
  • 4 pieces chicken breasts, or 6 pieces chicken thighs
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large shallot, very thinly sliced
  • Tarragon or basil, chopped
  • 10-12 cups chopped romaine, or iceberg lettuce or combo
  • 1 1/2 cups crumbled smoked blue cheese, or blue cheese or ricotta salata or feta
  • Grilled corn , or planks of zucchini, chopped (optional)
  • Pickled jalapeño pepper slices, optional
  • Thinly sliced radishes, optional
Yield
Serves: 4 to 6
Preparation

Preheat oven to 375˚F.

Place ranch ingredients in food processor or high power blender and combine until smooth and adjust salt.

For sauce, heat skillet or small saucepot over medium heat with olive oil, 1 tablespoon, add onion and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook to soften 10 minutes. Add chipotle, sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire, soy and tomato sauce, and simmer 10-15 minutes more to thicken at a low bubble. If sauce gets too thick, add chicken stock or water to thin.

Arrange bacon on slotted pan or wire rack-lined baking sheet and bake to very crisp, then chop into 1-inch pieces.  

Preheat a nonstick or cast-iron skillet, grill pan or outdoor grill to medium high. Season chicken with salt and pepper and cook 10-12 minutes to just cook through. (Use 2 tablespoons olive oil if cooking chicken in skillet.) Baste with barbecue sauce if using grill or grill pan, or add barbecue sauce to skillet and coat. Slice barbecued chicken.

Combine tomatoes with shallot and tarragon or basil.

Arrange the lettuce on board or platter and top with dressing, then arrange bacon, cheese, tomatoes, chicken and choice of additional toppings.