You don’t know what you are missing if you have never had a Classic Cobb Salad – it is a classic salad with a great story behind it. The original salad was invented at the Brown Derby Restaurant in Hollywood by the owner – Mr. Cobb, of course.
The story reports that Mr. Cobb worked non-stop in the busy restaurant until midnight. He was starving! He frenziedly mixed together this amazing salad with the things that he pulled together from the salad bar and tossed it with the house vinaigrette and the rest, as they say, is history!
It was one of my favourite salads to make in a private club where I worked as Pastry Chef and was often called upon to help in the Garde Manger area during the lunch rush. There are quite a few components to this salad, each one contributing to the overall flavour and character of the salad.
I remember studying for my Red Seal Exam and committing to memory the acronym “EAT COBB” (egg, avocado, tomato, chicken, onion, bacon and blue cheese). It proved as helpful for my Red Seal exam with all of its abstract multiple choice questions as it did remembering these components on the busy lunch line.
Although the ingredients are classic, there are many variations of the salad and I have to say that the Club’s version was the best I have ever tasted! In this version, good old Canadian Cheddar was added to the mix and several chunks blue cheese always garnished the top of the assembled salad. Leaf lettuce was the salad green of choice and shredded to order. You can use any salad green – original versions had a combination of salad greens, including iceberg, romaine, watercress, and even endive and chicory.
Classic Cobb Salad
CHEF TALK: The beauty of this recipe is its versatility. If iceberg or romaine lettuce or a mixture is preferred, by all means, use that. Leftover roast chicken thighs, as shown in this post, was used for the salad, however, poached or grilled chicken can be used. I roasted Alder Smoked Bacon for this recipe but any high-quality bacon will be lovely. Make sure that the bacon is roasted until crispy.
The Classic Cobb Salad
Serves 4 – 6 generous servings
For the Salad:
- 6 – 10 leaves green leaf lettuce, washed and shredded (about 1/2 full head of leaf lettuce)
- 2 medium-sized tomatoes, cut into 8 wedges (peeled, if desired)
- 2 chicken breasts, roasted or 6 chicken thighs, roasted, deboned, sliced
- 1 – 2 avocado, sliced
- 2 large eggs, hard-boiled, cooled, peeled and sliced
- 4 slices bacon, cooked until crispy and chopped coarsely
- 1 – 2 green onions, sliced thinly
- 2 oz. Old Cheddar Cheese (approximately 1/4 cup), shredded or diced small
For the Red Wine Vinaigrette:
- 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar or honey
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 small clove garlic, finely minced
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
For the Garnish:
- Additional Cheddar Cheese, shredded
- Additional crispy bacon, coarsely chopped
- A small amount of blue cheese, if desired
- Present the prepared salad ingredients as shown on a pretty platter.
- In a small jar with a tight-fitting lid, place all of the salad dressing ingredients inside and shake until the mixture is emulsified. Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
- For each serving, place one-quarter of the salad ingredients in a bowl and drizzle with some of the dressing. With a pair of tongs, toss the salad together and place gently in a salad bowl.
- Garnish with cheese, bacon and blue cheese and serve. Enjoy!
A Note of Interest: I used a fancy shredder/cutter for the Cheddar Cheese to give it a different look and texture. I really like this little gadget (pictured below) – it was one of those hidden treasures in the bottom of a clearance bin in an expensive kitchen store. I am so glad I picked it up that day – I have found a multitude of uses for it (shaving Parmesan, chocolate, veggies, cheese, etc). Have you come across a similar gadget that turned out to be far more functional that you thought it would?
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The Brown Derby’s Cobb Salad Recipe
If you give this recipe for Classic Cobb Salad a try, please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. You can find me on social media – just be sure to tag @urbnspice and #urbnspice so I’m sure to see it. Enjoy!
The Urbnspice Chef