Salad Days

Brown Derby Cobb Salad

April 2, 2018

From Hollywood’s Brown Derby restaurant and named for its owner, Robert Howard Cobb, the Cobb Salad is the original chopped salad.  If you had it at the restaurant, you know it was a mix of very finely chopped watercress, curly endive, Romaine and iceberg lettuces topped with crisp bacon, hard boiled egg, tomato, chive, chicken breast, Roquefort cheese and avocado,  served with a house-made “French” dressing that was more akin to red wine vinaigrette than the sweet orange goo labeled “French” on a salad bar. Our home-cook version is chopped less fine, but features all of the original ingredients.

There’s some dispute about the recipe’s genesis. Was the first Cobb salad made by Cobb himself, when he was rummaging through the restaurant’s cooler to throw together a late-night snack in 1939, or, by the restaurant’s executive chef Robert Kreis, who created it for the restaurant’s 1929 launch? Either way, the Cobb is one of America’s longest-standing salad favorites, inspiring dozens of different renditions.

Brown Derby Cobb Salad
Serves 6
From Hollywood's Brown Derby (and named for its owner, Robert Howard Cobb,) comes the forerunner of all chopped salads--plus the original salad dressing, more akin to a vinaigrette than the orange goo that gets labeled French dressing on the salad bar!
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Cobb Salad
  1. 1/2 head each of iceberg and Romaine lettuce, chopped
  2. 1 small bunch curly endive, torn into small pieces
  3. 1 small bunch watercress, large stems removed, chopped
  4. 2 Tbsp snipped chives
  5. 1 cup fresh tomato, diced
  6. 1 cup roasted chicken breast, diced
  7. 6 strips uncured bacon, cooked, diced
  8. 1 avocado, peeled and diced
  9. 3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped fine
  10. 1/2 cup Roquefort (or substitute your favorite blue cheese) crumbled
Brown Derby French Dressing
  1. 1/4 cup water
  2. 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  3. 1/4 tsp sugar
  4. 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  5. 1/2 tsp salt
  6. 1/2 tsp black pepper
  7. 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  8. 3/4 tsp dry mustard
  9. 1 small clove garlic, peeled and minced
  10. 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  11. 3/4 cup grapeseed oil
  1. Make salad dressing: In a large cruet or shaker bottle, combine all ingredients. Shake vigorously until dressing begins to emusify. Chill.
  2. Make salad: Combine chopped lettuces in a large shallow bowl. Top salad greens with rows of the remaining ingredients. At table, toss salad with dressing and serve.
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