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Over the last few years, I have been creeping in the background of Martha and Snoop Dogg’s amazing friendship— and I just love Snoop. He has an amazing open attitude about cooking and always asks Martha to “teach me how to learn”—but I’ve learned a lot from Snoop too. I credit myself for giving him his first homemade crouton, but he showed me how to make the crispiest bacon ever. He asked me to make him a recipe for a barbecue chicken Cobb salad with all the good stuff in it. It was 100 percent Snoop’s idea to add the homemade blue corn tortilla strips, which was brilliant—it’s exactly what a Cobb salad needs to tie everything together. 

Featured in “How to Make a Salad—Mindfully.”

Yield: serves 4
Time: 1 hours

Ingredients

For the buttermilk ranch dressing:

  • ¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. distilled white vinegar
  • Pinch garlic powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the chicken:

  • 2 tsp. Lawry’s seasoning salt
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. chili powder
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (8 oz. each)
  • 1 cup Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce

For the toppings:

  • 4 large eggs
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 4 corn tortillas (preferably blue), cut into ½-in. strips
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ pound bacon, oven fried or cooked “Snoop style” (see note)

For the salad:

  • 3 heads Little Gem lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces, washed and dried
  • 2 cups (10 oz.) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into eighths
  • ¼ cup crumbled blue cheese (2 oz.)
  • Chives, finely chopped

Instructions

  1. Make the ranch dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, buttermilk, vinegar, garlic powder, and salt and black pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to use (up to 1 week).
  2. Make the chicken: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400°F. In a shallow bowl, whisk together the Lawry’s, garlic powder, chili powder, cayenne, and black pepper. Add the chicken and coat with the rub, then transfer to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Set aside for 15 minutes to allow the salt to penetrate (or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 12 hours). Using a silicone brush, coat the chicken with the barbecue sauce, then bake until cooked through and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reads 165°F, 25–30 minutes. When cool enough to handle, slice thickly on the bias.
  3. Make the toppings: Fill a medium bowl with ice water and bring a medium pot of water to boil. Lower in the eggs, then boil for 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to the ice bath. When cool enough to handle, peel and quarter the eggs lengthwise. Wipe out the pot to dry completely and return it to the stove.
  4. To the empty pot, add oil to a depth of ½ inch and turn the heat to medium-high. When an instant-read thermometer reads 350°F (or the oil bubbles when you drop a tortilla strip in it), add the strips and fry until golden brown, about 1 minute. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate and season with salt.
  5. Make the salad: Arrange the lettuce on a serving platter, then top with the tomatoes, cucumbers, and avocado. Decorate with the egg and sprinkle with the blue cheese. Fan the chicken slices over the top, then drizzle with the dressing and top with the chives, tortilla strips, and black pepper.

Note: I was mesmerized, I was shocked, I was anxious as I watched Snoop from the television monitor in the back kitchen as he dumped strips of bacon into a hot pan, piled up on top of each other in a big clump. He swirled it around occasionally for about 15 minutes with a pair of tongs while he talked. I had always laid each strip flat, neatly fitting them in the pan, sometimes having to make multiple batches. But he dumped the bacon onto a paper towel–lined plate, and I saw how perfectly crispy and extra curly it was. I have never made bacon the old way again. 

Recipe excerpted from Salad Freak: Recipes to Feed a Healthy Obsession, by Jess Damuck, published by Abrams. Text © 2022 by Jess Damuck. Photography by Linda Pugliese.

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