According to The Brown Derby Restaurant in Hollywood, Calif., their owner, Bob Cobb, invented the Cobb Salad in 1937.
Supposedly, one night around midnight, the hungry owner raided the walk-in refrigerator and found Romaine lettuce, avocado, watercress, cooked, boneless breast of chicken, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, chives, cheese, cooked bacon and French dressing.
He chopped the ingredients and served them to his friend, Sid Grauman of Grauman’s Chinese Theater.
The salad was so delicious Sid asked for it the next day, as did Jack Warner of Warner Bros. fame and the countless movie moguls and stars that frequented The Brown Derby in the ’30s and ’40s and up until its closure in 1982. (You may still order a Cobb Salad at The Brown Derby in Disney properties from Orlando, Florida to Tokyo,Japan and all points in between.)
Summer is a great time to serve a Cobb Salad.
I make mine four hours before my guests arrive and keep it in the refrigerator, covered with a damp paper towel until serving time…the perfect make-ahead summer meal.
Instead of chicken, I top my salad with cooked shrimp.
I also like to serve thinly sliced salami, proscuitto and a wedge of Parmesan cheese alongside, for people to add, according to their own liking. Serve freshly baked Brioche rolls alongside and your salad becomes very filling.
The key to this dish is the presentation. Just fill your favorite salad bowl with your favorite chopped lettuce and top with your “add-ons”, grouping each one together.
I have given a suggested list, but feel free to choose what you and your guests prefer. Let inspiration and seasonality be your guide. You are your guests will be transported back to glamorous Hollywood.
“The Original” Cobb Salad Dressing
Thinly Sliced Proscuitto & Salami
Wedges of Parmesan & Bleu Cheese
*Recipe Not Given
1/2 head Romaine lettuce (about 4 cups) or lettuce of your choice, chopped
1 bunch watercress, washed, dried in a salad spinner
1 head radicchio, sliced
1 lb. cooked shrimp cocktail (crabmeat also works well)
2 breasts boiled chicken, shredded
2 medium tomatoes, chopped OR 1/2 pint of grape tomatoes, sliced in half
6 strips crisp bacon, cut into strips
3 hard-boiled eggs, sliced in half
1 avocado, cut into cubes
1 zucchini, cut into cubes
6 oz. marinated artichoke hearts
6 oz. roasted red peppers, cut into strips
1. Place lettuce in a large bowl.
2. Arrange your toppings over the lettuce. If making ahead of time, top with a damp paper towel and refrigerate until serving.
The “Original” Cobb Salad Dressing
(Adapted from The Brown Derby Restaurant Group)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsps. salt
3/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
3/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. dry English mustard
1 small clove garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup full-flavored olive oil
3/4 cup grapeseed oil
1. In a jar with a lid, add all ingredients together, except oils. Mix well. Add olive oil and grapeseed oil and shake until combined.
Wedges of Parmesan and Bleu Cheese
1 Chunk of Parmesan Cheese
1 Chunk of Bleu Cheese- I am a huge fan of Jasper Hill Farm’s Bayley Hazen Blue, this is the most delicious bleu cheese I have ever eaten. It is a non-gmo, raw cow milk cheese with a natural blue rind and aged 3-4 months. The creaminess of this cheese is extraordinary. For more information, jasperhillfarm.com or 802-533-2566
Alexandra Troy is owner of Culinary Architect Catering, a 35-year-old Greenvale-based company, specializing in private, corporate and promotional parties. Need help making your parties delicious and stress-free, Call 516-484-7431 and you will be a guest at your own party! If you make any of these recipes, send me a photo at email@example.com