The invention of the Cobb Salad is generally attributed to Robert Howard Cobb who co-owned The Brown Derby restaurant in Los Angeles. The year was 1937. The story goes that Cobb created the first Cobb Salad at the end of a long day after realizing he hadn't eaten for awhile. Scrounging about the kitchen, he found an avocado, lettuce, tomatoes, bacon and celery. (Chicken, hard-boiled egg, chives, watercress, and Roquefort cheese were later added to The Brown Derby's Cobb Salads.) Hollywood promoter Sid Grauman was at the restaurant that night, tried the salad, loved it, then asked for it again the following day. The rest, as they say, is history! There are some culinary historians who credit a chef at The Brown Derby for developing the Cobb Salad for Cobb after he came back to work hungry and irritable after a dentist appointment. The chef picked ingredients he knew his boss would like and chopped them up as a salad. We'll probably never know for sure which is the true story behind the creation of this salad, but I'm just glad someone came up with it. I love the combination of textures and flavours. And the salad looks so appetizing too! Today, a typical Cobb Salad is made by lining up rows of chopped cooked chicken (or turkey or ham), bacon, hard-boiled eggs, avocado, tomatoes, and Cheddar or blue cheese on a bed of lettuce. It was originally served with a French dressing, but the bite of the Brown Derby Cobb Salad dressing below pairs very well with the smoky bacon and tang of the Roquefort cheese. If you aren't inclined to make your own dressing, try serving the salad with a vinaigrette-style dressing. You can prep many of the components of this main dish salad ahead of time to speed up assembly: * wash the lettuce * cook and crumble the bacon * cook, peel and chop the eggs * cook and chop the chicken breasts (or use about 1-1/2 cups leftover or deli chicken) * dice the cheese * prepare the salad dressing (if you're creating your own) Just leave the chopping of the tomato and the avocado until you're actually putting the salad together. Although it's more work to prepare this way, I like to serve individual portions of the salad so everyone can choose their own dressing and have control over how they wish to eat the salad. I'd suggest tossing the components together gently once the dressing is added so you can enjoy all the flavours in each mouthful, but I know there are those who like to leave the salad design alone and just eat across the rows. As you wish!
Makes 4 servings
- 6 cups (1.5 L) chopped iceberg and/or romaine lettuce*
- 2 tomatoes, coarsely chopped
- 6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
- 1 cup diced Cheddar cheese (or 3/4 cup crumbled Roquefort cheese)
- 2 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
- 1 to 2 avocados, pitted, cored and cubed
- Brown Derby Salad Dressing (see below) or a dressing of your choice Line four plates with lettuce.
Place tomatoes, bacon, eggs, cheese, chicken and avocado over lettuce in adjoining rows. (Salad components can be placed in whichever order you prefer.) Drizzle with salad dressing. * I used leaf lettuce for the salad in the photo as that's what I had on hand.
Brown Derby Salad Dressing (adapted)
Makes about 1-1/4 cups
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 3/4 tsp black pepper
- 3/4 tsp Worcestershire
- 1/4 tsp dry English mustard
- 1/4 tsp sugar
- 1 small clove garlic, minced
Combine all ingredients in a jar with a lid or in a small bowl; cover jar with lid and shake or whisk ingredients until combined.