Cobb Salad

Classic American Cobb salad, a composed salad with bacon, avocado, chicken breast, tomato, hard boiled egg, chives, arranged on a bed of romaine, Boston, frisée lettuce and watercress.

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Photography Credit: Sally Vargas

Cobb salad is the quintessential American salad, first pulled together on a whim by Robert Cobb of the former Los Angeles landmark Brown Derby restaurant when he needed to feed Sid Grauman late one night (1937). It was such a hit, movie stars started requesting “Cobb’s salad”, and soon its popularity spread.

The original Brown Derby restaurant on Wilshire Blvd. was eventually torn down in the 80s, like so many downtown LA landmarks—Perinos, the Ambassador Hotel—leaving a swath of strip malls in their place.

I fondly remember the Brown Derby.It was in the shape of huge brown hat (you couldn’t miss it) and within a few blocks of where we lived when I was a kid. Ah well, big brown hat gone, but thank goodness the salad remains, a legacy of the Golden Era of Hollywood.

Cobb Salad Recipe

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  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1/2 head of romaine
  • 1/2 head of Boston lettuce
  • 1 small bunch of frisée (curly endive)
  • 1/2 bunch of watercress, coarse stems discarded
    All lettuces should be rinsed, spun or patted dry, and coarsely chopped
  • 6 slices of bacon
  • 2 ripe avocados, seed removed, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 whole skinless boneless chicken breast (about 3/4 pound total), halved, cooked, and diced (see How to Poach Chicken)
  • 1 tomato, seeded and chopped fine
  • 2 hard-boiled large eggs, separated, the yolk finely chopped and the white finely chopped (see How to Make Hard Boiled Eggs)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1/3 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
  • 1-2 teaspoons sugar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Roquefort

 

Method

1 Cook the bacon in a skillet on medium heat until crisp on both sides. Remove from skillet and lay out on paper towels to absorb the excess fat. Allow the bacon to cool. Crumble the bacon and set aside.

2 Toss the various lettuces: In a large salad bowl, toss together well the various lettuces and watercress.

3 Compose the salad: Arrange the chicken, the bacon, the tomato, and the avocado decoratively over the greens and garnish the salad with the chopped egg and the chives.

4 Make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, the mustard, and salt and pepper to taste, add the oil in a slow stream, whisking, and whisk the dressing until it is emulsified.

Stir in the Roquefort. Add sugar to taste, 1/2 teaspoon at a time. Whisk the dressing. Serve separately or toss in with the salad.

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Links:

Grilled Chicken Rainbow Cobb Salad from I Am Baker

Cobb Salad

You can use hard boiled egg wedges instead of chopped egg yolks and whites.

Showing 4 of 10 Comments

  • Cheyenne

    We have a Brown Derby restaurant in Ohio, they serve this salad in a big salad bowl and toss it at your table with their homemade Italian dressing.

  • val

    i made this salad with cubed slab bacon instead of crumbles and it was aaamazing. love the plating in the picture too! really awesome. cobb salads are just the best.

  • Penny

    I decided to kick off the arrival of spring with this wonderful salad. I skipped the “composing” part and mixed everything in a big bowl to devour!

  • Ken

    Fantastic!!

    I poached the chicken or a little water, olive oil, butter, white wine, onion, bay leave, carrot, salt and pepper, slow cooked.

    It was the best ever! =)

  • Judith Comstock

    Thanks so much for finding and sharing this recipe. I used to live down the street also and would go with my Great Aunt there for lunch. She would always order the Cobb Salad. I remember it came in rows and the waiter tossed it at the table. They never asked my Aunt what she wanted as this was the only choice for her.

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