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buffalo chicken cobb salad – smitten kitchen

Earlier this summer, I made what I thought was just a dinner salad that turned out to be my new favorite dinner salad of all time and it was literally all I could talk about for the next few weeks. Incessantly. Insufferably. I didn’t even wait to ask if you’re into buffalo wings (of course you are), cobb salads (you could be, I can just tell) or looking for a dinner idea. It’s just not who I am.

Perhaps even less surprising was realizing I have very strong opinions about how to adapt the idea of buffalo wings to things that are not buffalo wings, which means I’m about to break down my favorite parts of all this:

* The lightness: I find buffalo wings to be as unheavy as fried chicken wings dipped in a buttery hot sauce and then dipped again in a blue cheese ranch dressing can be. It’s because they’re not breaded; the crisp is from the skin itself. For the purposes of this salad, you could definitely use a crispy breaded chicken cutlet if you’d like, however, I was completely happy with grilled chicken thighs.

* The dressing two-fer: Buffalo sauce is a buttery hot sauce mixture that’s piercing and thin. The creamy dressing is ranch-like and thicker. For me, the interplay of these two textures and flavors is everything, so this salad had to have two “dressings,” vs. just mixing them together.

* The blue cheese-less blue cheese: I adore blue cheese dressing but my weird take on it is that I prefer the blue cheese outside the dressing. If not, I end up having a eating-the-whole-pint-of-ice-cream-just-to-dig-for-the-cookie-dough-nuggets experience with it, which I insist is a universal one. Sprinkling blue cheese over allows every bite to have some without smothering everything in any more dressing than I crave.

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* Everything else: Carrots and celery are essential when it comes to buffalo wings, in my opinion, not just plate garnishes. From there, I added more chunky vegetables — cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, diced red onion — that work well with these flavors and just enough leafy greens to fill it out.

* Salad bar-style: I serve everything unassembled, because it allows everyone at the table to make their salad with the ingredient balance of their dreams, including those that don’t want chicken, or blue cheese (more for me!), or even buffalo sauce. Plus, the leftovers keep fantastically — dressings in their own jars, lettuce in a bag, vegetables in a container — since they’re unmixed.

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Do I … overthink these things a little or do I obsess exactly enough? I hope you’ll try it and find out.



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