James Carrier
YieldsMakes 4 to 6 main-dish servings
Notes: Apple wood-smoked bacon adds especially rich flavor to this salad. Use leftover cooked chicken or buy roast chicken from a deli. Choose a pungent blue cheese such as Oregon blue, Roquefort, or gorgonzola.

How to Make It

Step 1
1

In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium-high heat, stir bacon often until browned and crisp, 10 to 15 minutes; spoon out and discard fat in pan as it accumulates. With a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to towels to drain; discard remaining fat in pan.

Step 2
2

In a 1-cup glass measure or small bowl, mix olive oil, vinegar, mustard, shallot, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Step 3
3

Set aside 4 to 6 watercress sprigs; coarsely chop remaining sprigs. In a large bowl, combine chopped watercress and lettuce. Add all but 2 tablespoons dressing and mix gently to coat.

Step 4
4

Arrange equal portions of lettuce mixture in wide, shallow bowls. On each, in pie-shaped wedges, arrange equal portions of bacon, tomatoes, chicken, blue cheese, eggs, and avocado.

Step 5
5

Spoon remaining dressing evenly over toppings. Garnish salads with reserved watercress sprigs. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Ingredients

 1 pound sliced bacon (see notes), coarsely chopped
 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
 1/4 cup tarragon-flavor vinegar
 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  About 1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground pepper
  About 1/4 teaspoon salt
 1 quart lightly packed watercress sprigs (4 oz.), rinsed and crisped
 5 quarts finely shredded lettuce (use half butter lettuce and half iceberg or all iceberg)
 2 firm-ripe tomatoes (2/3 lb. total), rinsed, cored, and chopped
 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced skinned cooked chicken (7 oz.; see notes)
 2/3 cup crumbled blue cheese (3 oz.; see notes)
 2 hard-cooked large eggs, shelled and chopped
 1 firm-ripe avocado (1/2 lb.), halved, pitted, peeled, and thinly sliced crosswise

Directions

Step 1
1

In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium-high heat, stir bacon often until browned and crisp, 10 to 15 minutes; spoon out and discard fat in pan as it accumulates. With a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to towels to drain; discard remaining fat in pan.

Step 2
2

In a 1-cup glass measure or small bowl, mix olive oil, vinegar, mustard, shallot, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Step 3
3

Set aside 4 to 6 watercress sprigs; coarsely chop remaining sprigs. In a large bowl, combine chopped watercress and lettuce. Add all but 2 tablespoons dressing and mix gently to coat.

Step 4
4

Arrange equal portions of lettuce mixture in wide, shallow bowls. On each, in pie-shaped wedges, arrange equal portions of bacon, tomatoes, chicken, blue cheese, eggs, and avocado.

Step 5
5

Spoon remaining dressing evenly over toppings. Garnish salads with reserved watercress sprigs. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cobb Salad