As spring arrives this variation on the Cobb salad could offer some diversity to your meal rotation, and take advantage of some of the beautiful winter produce that’s still available. It’s often hard motivating to make a homemade salad on a cold day, but you’re rewarded with an interesting dish that might have been just an average salad. As the bacon is cooking, blanch the green beans in salted boiling water and then transfer to an ice bath to stop the cooking. This will keep the beans crisp and help maintain their nice green color. Add a big pinch of sea salt and extra-virgin olive oil to the green beans. Sliced apples could work in place of the pears, or grilled sliced chicken instead of the bacon, or use no meat and add toasted nuts.
Place the green beans in a large pot of salted boiling water. Cook the green beans until just crisp and a bit tender, about 3-4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or small spider strainer remove the green beans from the boiling water and place into a bowl of cold water filled with ice cubes. Drain green beans and transfer to a plate to cool. Season the beans to taste with salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the bacon strips on the sheet tray and cook until crisp or according to the package instructions. Transfer bacon to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Once cooled, cut the bacon into small pieces.
Put the lettuce pieces on a serving tray and toss with the dressing to coat. Spoon the chickpeas across the lettuce. Next, add a row of pear slices. Make a row with the avocados, bacon and green beans. Sprinkle the dried cranberries over the pears. Serve with crusty bread or crackers, or just as is!