Oh joy! I finally learned the patience to grow spinach, and it was worth it. Now I can sneak fresh spinach into my favorite salad, the good old Cobb, born at The Brown Derby restaurant in LA many decades ago. What’s not to like about blue cheese, bacon, avocados, and tomatoes? With the hard-boiled eggs, you can call this supper. I like to serve the salad family-style, arranged in one big bowl. But you could also make individual composed salads for a more formal dinner; in that case, dress the ingredients separately before arranging them.

Serves 4 or 5

  • 2 large ripe avocados
  • 1 1/2 cups halved grape tomatoes (about 8 ounces)
  • 2 ribs celery, finely sliced (about 1⁄2 cup)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 recipe Derby Dressing
  • 6 ounces baby spinach, stemmed if necessary, washed and dried
  • 3 ounces Bibb lettuce (about 1 small head) or inner leaves of Boston lettuce, washed and dried
  • 1⁄4 cup sliced fresh chives (cut into 1-inch lengths)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and sliced
  • 4 ounces Roquefort or other good-quality blue cheese, crumbled
  • 8 slices cooked bacon, crumbled

1. Have ready one large shallow serving bowl (about 13 to 14 inches across and 3 to 4 inches deep is nice).

2. Peel, pit, and dice the avocados. Put them in a mixing bowl along with the grape tomatoes and celery. Season with a pinch of salt, drizzle with a tablespoon of the Derby Dressing, and toss very gently.

3. Combine the spinach, Bibb lettuce, and half of the chives in a big mixing bowl. Season lightly with salt and a few grinds of fresh pepper. Drizzle and toss with about 3 tablespoons of the Derby Dressing (taste and add more if you like). Transfer the greens to the serving bowl.

4. Mound the avocado mixture in the center of the greens. Arrange the egg slices in a circle around the avocado mixture. Sprinkle the blue cheese in a circle around the egg slices. Lastly, sprinkle the bacon around the blue cheese, leaving a few greens peeking out around the edges of the bowl. Drizzle most or all of the remaining dressing over everything and garnish with the remaining chives. Bring to the table with tongs and plates to serve.

Derby Dressing

Makes 1/2 cup

  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon red-wine vinegar
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

This easy vinaigrette keeps for several days in the fridge and is a great everyday salad dressing.

1. Put all the ingredients (including several grinds of fresh pepper) in a liquid measure and whisk vigorously. (Or use a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake well.)

This recipe was originally published with the article, The Pursuit of Happiness.