After a weekend full of activities and sometimes a bit of overindulgence, nothing is better for dinner than a beautiful salad. A couple of extra steps elevate a basic “tossed salad” to an extraordinary meal. The Cobb Salad is a classic. And it’s wonderful served with fresh, plump shrimp and tossed with Green Goddess Dressing, an old standby full of fresh herbs and creamy goodness.
Let’s start with the shrimp. The biggest challenge most of us encounter with fresh shrimp is cooking. Overcooking leave these succulent shellfish somewhat tough and lacking in flavor. When I was catering with my friend Jane, we cooked a lot of shrimp and would use a flavorful Court Bouillon, loaded with herbs and spices, vegetables and white wine. It imparts a delicate flavor in the shrimp and creates a gorgeous result.
Now take the salad to another level. Making your own salad dressing is a step we often skip but it requires less than about 10 minutes to pull together. Green Goddess is a dressing that I remember my Mom serving. It was quite popular in the 60s and 70s, though food historians date its creation back to the 1920s. Clearly it has come in and out of fashion in the world of food, but loaded with parsley, tarragon and chives it’s a dressing that is always wonderful. Don’t be put off by the anchovies even if you’re not a fan, they add a salty depth to the dressing. Trust me, you would never know they’re in the dressing if someone didn’t tell you!
A classic Cobb Salad has lettuce, tomatoes, avocadoes, bacon and hard-boiled eggs. Some versions include scallions, other versions use red onions. I also add fresh broccoli and cauliflower for my Engineer-feel free to get creative and include your favorites.
And a quick reminder, always season your salad with kosher or sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
A feast for your eyes and your tastebuds!
Shrimp Cobb Salad with Green Goddess Dressing
Shrimp in Court Bouillon
1 large carrot, cut into large pieces
2 large shallots, sliced
6 scallions, cut into large pieces
½ cup parsley
½ teaspoon crushed black peppercorns
¼ dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cloves garlic, crushed
4 cups dry white wine
8 cups water
2 pounds raw shrimp, 16/20 count*, peeled and deveined
Place all the ingredients except the shrimp in a large stockpot.
Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the shrimp, remove from the heat, cover and allow the shrimp to cool in the Court Bouillon for about 10-15 minutes or until the shrimp are cooked through. The shrimp should be opaque and pink in color. If you’re using smaller shrimp, check after about 8 minutes.
Once cooked, remove the shrimp from the Court Bouillon and serve. If you’re not eating the shrimp right away bag and chill promptly.
*16/20 indicates the approximate number of pieces per pound.
Green Goddess Dressing
1 cup mayonnaise
½ cup cream
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ cup parsley
½ cup tarragon leaves
½ cup chopped chives
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons chopped anchovy filets
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
Place all the ingredients in a blender, starting with the mayonnaise, cream and lemon juice.
Puree starting on low speed then increase to medium and process for about 20-30 seconds or until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Mixed greens, or Boston Bibb lettuce
Tomatoes, quartered or sliced
Fresh broccoli, cut into small pieces
Fresh cauliflower, cut into small pieces
Red onion, sliced thin
Ripe avocado, sliced
4-6 hard-boiled eggs, cut in half
5-6 slices of bacon, cut into small pieces and cooked until crisp
Kosher salt or sea salt, to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
2 pounds boiled shrimp, 16/18 count
Layer ingredients on a large platter or toss together in a large bowl. Season with kosher or sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Toss with Green Goddess Dressing or serve on the side.
Add a slice of savory blue cheese on the side!