- Servings: Serves 4 as a main course.
The original Cobb Salad was invented at the once iconic Brown Derby Restaurant in Hollywood, by the restaurant's manager, Bob Cobb.
This salad is what in French cuisine is called a salad composé because elements are chopped and then arranged individually on a plate, for either the eater to mix together or else have the waiter combine. The dressing is usually a vinaigrette to which Worcestershire Sauce and mustard are added.
Making this salad is more assembly than cooking, although some of the ingredients, such as the chicken breasts, need to be cooked in advance. Mostly it requires lots of chopping and arranging. It may be too much work for one serving, but it can be an appealing showpiece for a company lunch.
While some may prefer to pan grill boneless chicken breasts, I recommend oven roasting ones still on the bone with their skin in order to get the most flavor. It doesn't take that much longer and the extra time is worth it.
If you want to break with tradition, there's almost no limit to how you can make your own version of a Cobb. For example, you can substitute ham or smoked turkey or poached salmon for the chicken, goat cheese for the blue, etc. Mr. Cobb will never know.
- 3 chicken breasts, on the bone with skin
- 2 avocados
- 4 tomatoes or 12 cherry tomatoes
- 8 slices bacon, turkey bacon, or pancetta
- 4 large eggs
- 4 cups mesclun, watercress or other salad greens
- 1/2 pound Roquefort, Stilton or other good blue cheese
- Cobb Salad Dressing (see below)
- In Advance:
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Salt and pepper the chicken breasts and place them skin side up on a sheet pan. Roast for 45 minutes until cooked and the skin is brown. Remove from the oven and let come to room temperature.
- Cook the bacon or pancetta pieces until crispy; you can do this either in the oven or in a skillet on the stovetop. Drain on paper towels and let come to room temperature.
- Place the eggs in a saucepan filled with cool water. Place on the stove and bring to a boil, lowering the water to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Let cool to room temperature and peel. (The eggs can be cooked up to a day in advance and kept in the refrigerator until ready to use.)
- Prepping the Salad:
- If using good, in-season tomatoes, cut them into half-inch dice, draining off any excess juice. If making the salad when tomatoes are not in season, use cherry tomatoes and cut them in half.
- Peel and seed the avocados and cut into half-inch dice.
- Remove the skin from the chicken and cut into half-inch dice.
- Crumble the bacon into half-inch pieces.
- Prepare the eggs by either cutting into half-inch pieces or else cut into quarters, lengthwise.
- Wash and completely dry the salad greens.
- Crumble the cheese.
- Assembling the Salad:
- Salads can be arranged either on individual serving plates or else on a large platter. If making individual servings, divide each ingredient into fourths so that each serving gets equal amounts.
- The traditional presentation of a Cobb Salad is to line up each chopped ingredient in a row with the greens either served as an underlying bed or else in a mound at the side of the plate.
- The effect is to have a ribbon-like presentation of chopped tomato, next to chopped chicken breast, next to avocado, egg, blue cheese and bacon. The eater can then mix the elements up or eat them in any preferred combination.
Pass the dressing separately.
Cobb Salad Dressing
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 to 8 grinds of black pepper
1 generous teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup Canola oil
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- In a small bowl combine the vinegar, lemon juice, Worcestershire Sauce, salt, pepper and mustard and with a small whisk or fork, stir until the salt is completely dissolved.
- Add the canola and olive oil and whisk until completely emulsified. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper.
- Serve immediately.