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Our cookbook of the week is Salad Freak by Jess Damuck. Over the next two days, we’ll feature another recipe from the book and an interview with the author.
To try another recipe from the book, check out: Martha’s mango and mozzarella with young lettuces.
Author Jess Damuck credits Snoop Dogg for this Cobb salad recipe. For over a decade, Damuck has worked with Martha Stewart as a producer, food editor and stylist – including on the reality show Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party.
“Getting to know Snoop and working with Martha and Snoop has been one of the most fun things I’ve done in the past few years, for sure,” says Damuck.
“Snoop has such a fun attitude about cooking. When we started the very first season of the show (in 2016), he had no idea how to (cook). But like Martha, he’s super curious and open-minded, and he just wanted to learn everything he could from Martha. And I love, whenever he has an idea to bring to the table, it’s always surprising at first, but then it totally works. ”
Damuck had never seen Snoop Dogg eat a salad. The closest thing to it, she recalls, was when she gave him his first homemade crouton. When the rapper heard she was writing Salad Freakthough, he was excited.
They got to talking about his favorite salad: the Cobb, “with all the good stuff.”
Snoop Dogg’s idea to add crispy fried tortilla strips was the clincher. “It’s this really nice, crunchy, savory, salty thing that ties the whole thing together in a pretty genius way,” says Damuck.
Cook this: Martha’s mango and mozzarella with young lettuces from Salad Freak
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The method she uses to cook the bacon is also Snoop-inspired. Before she saw him pile slices in a hot pan and stir them occasionally until perfectly crisp, she had always made sure each piece was laying flat with no overlap.
“It works so well,” says Damuck. “When I saw him do it, I was like, ‘Oh my God.’ It was so shocking, but I haven’t cooked my bacon any other way since. ”
SNOOP’S BBQ CHICKEN COBB SALAD WITH ALL THE GOOD STUFF
3 heads Little Gem lettuce
1 pint (280 g) cherry tomatoes
2 Persian cucumbers
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 8 oz / 225 g each)
1/2 lb (225 g) bacon, cooked Snoop-style (recipe follows)
2 to 4 large eggs
2 oz (55 g) blue cheese
1 recipe Garlicky Buttermilk Ranch Dressing (recipe follows)
2 tsp Lawry’s Seasoning Salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (240 mL) Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce
Neutral oil, for frying
4 small corn tortillas (blue if you can find them; store-bought strips are also fine!)
MAKE THE RUB:
In a small bowl, mix together 2 teaspoons Lawry’s, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.
Coat the chicken breasts with the rub and let them sit for 15 minutes or, refrigerated, up to overnight.
Preheat the oven to 400 ° F (205 ° C). Get a medium pot of water boiling. Prepare an ice bath.
Place the coated chicken breasts on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet, and with a silicone brush, coat the chicken with barbecue sauce. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the chicken reaches 165 ° F (74 ° C) on an instant-read thermometer.
Meanwhile, add 2 to 4 eggs to the boiling water. Cook for 10 minutes. Transfer to the ice bath. Wipe out and dry the saucepan completely; you’ll use it to fry your tortilla strips.
Add 1/2 inch (12 mm) oil to the saucepan. Cut 4 tortillas into thin (1/2-inch / 12 mm or less) strips. Once the oil has reached about 350 ° F (175 ° C), or it bubbles up when you drop a strip in it, fry the tortilla strips. Fry the strips until golden brown, about 1 minute, and transfer to a paper towel – lined plate. Season with salt.
Separate the leaves of 3 heads lettuce and tear them into bite-size pieces; wash and spin dry. Cut 1 pint (280 g) cherry tomatoes in half. Halve, pit and peel 1 avocado and cut into eighths. Thinly slice 2 Persian cucumbers and slice some chives.
ASSEMBLY AND SERVICE:
Arrange the lettuce on a serving platter. Arrange the tomatoes, cucumbers and avocado on the serving platter. Peel the eggs, cut them into quarters and arrange on the plate. Crumble 1/2 pound Snoop-style bacon and sprinkle evenly over the salad. Crumble 2 ounces (55 g) blue cheese and sprinkle it evenly over everything.
Slice the chicken on a diagonal and transfer to the top of the salad. Drizzle with the dressing and sprinkle with the chives, tortilla strips, and black pepper.
Serves: 4 as a meal
Cluster the halved tomatoes and cucumbers in one area of the plate but scatter a few for visual appeal to break things up a bit.
1 lb (455 g) of your favorite bacon (something not too thick-cut works best)
Heat a cast-iron or other large skillet over medium heat, and dump the bacon in. Stir it around occasionally until curly and very crispy, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel – lined plate.
GARLICKY BUTTERMILK RANCH DRESSING
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp (90 mL) mayonnaise
1/4 cup (60 mL) buttermilk
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp (20 mL) distilled white vinegar
Pinch garlic powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Put all of the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. The dressing keeps for about 1 week in the fridge.
Makes: 1/2 cup (120 mL)
Recipes and image excerpted from Salad Freak: Recipes to Feed a Healthy Obsession by Jess Damuck. Text copyright © 2022 Jess Damuck. Photograph copyright © 2022 Linda Pugliese. Used by permission of Abrams, an imprint of ABRAMS.