Tex Mex Cobb Salad

Recipe by Nancy Johnson
Wine Commentary by Gary Twining

Cobb Salad was created by Bob Cobb, the manager of the Hollywood Brown Derby. It’s usually composed of avocado, tomato, bacon, chicken, hard-boiled egg and blue cheese all arranged in neat rows over lettuce. Here the salad takes on a Texas-meets-Mexico vibe: queso fresco is a soft cheese available in most supermarkets. Substitute goat or feta cheese. Dial up the nutrition by adding grilled steak, chicken, chia seeds or quinoa.

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
4 ears corn, grilled and corn removed from cob
2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
2 avocados, halved, pitted and chopped
8 oz queso fresco or feta cheese
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
6 scallions, thinly sliced
1 bag chopped romaine lettuce
Broken tortilla chips, for garnish

Tex Mex Cobb Vinaigrette

1/3 cup fresh lemon or lime juice
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp chili powder (or more, to taste)
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a jar, combine lemon or lime juice, sugar, chili powder and red pepper. Shake. Add olive oil and shake again. Season with salt and pepper.

Arrange romaine lettuce on 4 plates. Arrange black beans, corn, tomatoes, avocado and queso fresco in rows over lettuce. Sprinkle with cilantro and green onions over each salad. Drizzle with Tex Mex Vinaigrette and garnish with tortilla chips. Serves 4.

Gary: With the heat, citrus, vinaigrette and avocados look for a softly sweet Riesling or Chenin Blanc to help quell the fire, stand up to the lemon/lime and vinegar, set off the salty, smokiness of the bacon and intensity of the blue cheese. A crisp, dry sparkler or one with a hint of sweetness would also work. A brightly flavored Sauvignon Blanc would pair well with this salad, particularly with goat cheese because of the echoing of flavors and aromas and the firm acidity of the wine. Look also to a light red with acidity for the same reasons; Pinot Noir, Beaujolais/Gamay, Valpolicella and some cool climate reds from the Lake Erie region.

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