Southern Style Cobb Salad

February 14, 2011

Southern Salad

Disclaimer: it isn’t really a cobb salad. I just looked at my husband while we were eating this delicious meal and asked, “What would you call it?”

To be honest I have no idea where this recipe came from. Wait, yes I do! I was trying to create a protein-rich meal on the cheap. I wanted it to include animal protein, but not at the cost of a grass-fed steak or anything like that.

No, this wasn’t our weekend Valentine’s Dinner. (Note obligatory Valentines reference.) Though I got a little creative with the plating as if I were serving something fancy!

Have I mentioned how expensive groceries are in D.C.? Seriously. We lived in Boston, not Kansas. I did not expect the prices to go up as we moved south. Everything is more expensive here, even parking meters. My penny-pinching grocery moves have definitely come in handy.

In fact, I’m so inspired by our soaring bills I’ve decided to put my efforts into a new book all about healthy eating on a budget. I think it deserves some serious attention! It is quite saddening to have to choose between health and bankruptcy. But i think if you can make your way through marketing hurdles and learn a few tricks, you can actually eat healthy, organic food for less, not more, than a processed diet.

Anyway. Back to the recipe.

It’s easy. You can make each piece separately and put it all together at the end. I stored leftovers separately too, in case you want to use the millet for something else, or the greens in another dish later in the week. Oh, did I mention it’s gluten-free?

Southern Style Not-Really Cobb Salad
Serves 4
1 cup uncooked millet
3 cups water
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbl. olive oil
2 bunches collard greens
1 can black eyed peas
8 slices bacon
4 eggs
3 tomatoes, chopped

For dressing, whisk together:
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tbl. stoneground mustard

Optional: Soak millet in water overnight. Drain and rinse before using.

Heat oil in pot, then add onions. Let soften a bit, then add garlic. When just golden, add millet and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until water is absorbed, about 20 minutes.

Open can of beans, rinse and soak in water.

While millet cooks and beans soak, cut last 1″ of stems off collards and stack flat leaves on top of each other. Roll tightly and slice roll into very thin circles. This is a “chiffonade.” Or, cut your collards however you like, but this is my recommendation for pretty, fast-cooking greens.

Heat large pan and cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, but keep the fat. Add eggs to the pan and cook any way you like. Remove from pan. Finally, add collard greens and toss in remaining bacon fat. Cook until bright green and tender.

Each plate gets a pile of greens, a scoop of cooked millet, a sprinkle of beans and tomatoes, 2 pieces of bacon, 1 egg and a generous drizzle of dressing.

Ok, I know you’re going to ask how much this meal cost. That was the whole point, right?

Well, I accidentally threw out the receipt so I can’t tell you. Duh! But I’ll estimate that the total cost was about $15 of organic ingredients at Whole Foods. (And $5 of that was the collard greens themselves, which are nutritionally worth their weight in gold.) Each plate was about $3.75.

And someone else is going to say, “Wait a minute, you cooked in bacon grease???”

To which I reply, Yes. Yes I did. Because bacon fat is delicious, natural and nowhere near as bad for you as say, processed canola oil. In fact, bacon’s monounsaturated fat is oleic acid, the same fat found in olive oil. Rejoice!