4 portions. Approximate cost: £15.25 if buying all ingredients, but you will have a lot left over, 

Skill level: Easy,

Total cooking time: 45 minutes, 

  • Prep time: 20 minutes, 
  • Cooking time: 25 minutes, 

Equipment used: 1 baking tray, 2 saucepans, a sieve, 1 large mixing bowl, 

 

The Cobb is an American salad and looking at the list of ingredients, this will come as no great surprise. Who else would pack a salad with blue cheese, chicken and bacon? Not that I’m not one to complain – throw in extra salad leaves (spinach, rocket, watercress, endives, whatever you fancy) and you have all the makings of a healthy (ish) taste sensation.

OR, if you want to really be a fat bastard, then make a blue cheese dressing (Roquefort, butter and cream) to drizzle over the top – a little goes a long way, but this does make the dish really indulgent. You can also make this dip in advance and allow it to thicken if you prefer – best to try both and eat your body weight in blue cheese to be sure.

(I also like the fact that traditional Cobb ingredients can be easily remembered by this handy mnemonic; EAT COBB – Egg, Avocado, Tomato, Chicken, Olives, Blue Cheese, Bacon – although I prefer pancetta. I must have told the girls in my office this at least 17 times already. Bless them for still eating lunch with me)

Lastly, a note on the photo. Yes, this is very ’80s, but a quick Google will reveal how “classic” this layout is. 

 

To cook:

Preheat the oven to 180C

Drizzle a little olive oil onto 4 chicken thighs and season well with salt and pepper. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on size. When there is 5 minutes remaining, drape 8 pancetta slices over the chicken and pop back in the oven for the remaining time before removing to a chopping board and leaving both to cool before roughly chopping both meats. 

Shortly after adding the chicken to the oven, start on the eggs (boiling a kettle and using this to fill a saucepan will cut down the time immensely). Add 4 eggs to the pan when the water is boiling and cook for 8 minutes – ideally you want the centre just verging on the side of uncooked; gummy but not runny. When the time is up, add the eggs to a sieve and run under a cold tap to cool them and prevent them from cooking any further. Quickly peel one egg and cut it in half to check it’s cooked to your liking – if under-done, pop back in the pan for another couple of minutes, if you’re happy then leave the eggs to cool and before cutting into quarters.

For the blue cheese sauce, crumble or dice 50g to 75g of blue cheese into a small saucepan, add a big lump of butter and heat gently until both melt, mixing continuously. Add 100g single cream, mix and take the sauce off of the heat to cool. (You can leave this to cool completely and thicken if desired)

 

To assemble:

Into a large mixing bowl add sliced cos lettuce, spinach and rocket plus a big handful of black olives or capers. Drizzle over a little olive oil and some lemon juice and mix well. 

Arrange the salad leaves on a plate, add sliced tomatoes, avocado, the quartered eggs, chicken and pancetta and pour the pour cheese sauce onto the chicken and some salad leaves. Scatter pumpkin and sunflower seeds for extra crunch. 

 

Ingredients:

The ingredient list may look extensive, but you can use the leftovers to create other salad dishes

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (£4)
  • 8 slices of pancetta (£1.80)
  • 2 avocados (£1.80)
  • 4 eggs (£1.90 for 6)
  • 1 cos lettuce (80p)
  • 2 big handfuls of spinach (£1 for a bag)
  • 2 big handfuls of rocket (£1 for a bag)
  • 12 cherry tomatoes or 2 large tomatoes (90p for 300g, roughly 20 cherry tomatoes)
  • a big handful of black olives or capers
  • 50g to 75g blue cheese (£1.50 for 150g)
  • 100ml single cream (55p for 150ml)
  • a large dollop of butter
  • pumpkin seeds (optional)
  • sunflower seeds (optional)