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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Un-Cobb Salad & Brown Derby

This salad recipe originated the same way as the original Cobb Salad — from refrigerator leftovers. It contains many of the same ingredients, but it's not the exactly the same.


Cobb salad is a main-dish American garden salad consisting of chopped chicken (or turkey), salad greens, usually iceberg and romaine lettuce, watercress, endives with tomatoes, crisp basin, hard boiled eggs, avocado. Add-ins are often Blue cheese or Roquefort cheese or even Cheddar cheese. And it's topped with a vinaigrette dressing. An easy way to remember the ingredients list is to use the mnemonic EAT COBB: egg, avocado, tomato, chicken onion, bacon, blue cheese.

Its origin is the Hollywood Derby Restaurant in 1937. All online sources seem to agree that it's named after Derby owner, Robert Cobb. The most popular version of its creation is that Cobb had not eaten when late one night he raided the restaurant kitchen and mixed together leftovers, adding cooked bacon from a chef and tossing it all with French dressing. Showman and theater owner Sid Grauman (think Grauman's Chinese Restaurant) was reportedly with him. Salad ingredients were chopped fine because Grauman,who had recent dental work, couldn't chew. Afterwards, Grauman was said to have requested the salad which was then added to the menu. It became a popular item and developed a following among popular movie stars of the time.

I raided the Frog & PenguINN refrigerator and pantry this weekend, gathering these ingredients:

  • Cooked chicken
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Avocado
  • Celery
  • Tomatoes
  • Pecans
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Dried cranberries

Okay, the hard boiled eggs were NOT already cooked, but were an easy addition to prepare. Cooked bacon and cheese were left out because no bacon was already cooked and I forgot about adding cheese, but there's always next time.  No proportions are given because I did not really measure, but just made enough for Grenville and myself to enjoy for a Saturday night meal with NO leftovers. This dressing was homemade from ingredients on hand. Refrigerated leftovers will keep for about a week.

Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

  • ¾ C canola oil
  • ¼ C extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ C red wine vinegar
  • 1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ tsp dry mustard or 1 TBSP Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ tsp sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste



The first Brown Derby opened in 1926 as a coffee shop on Wilshire Boulevard in Los
Angeles, CA. It was started by Wilson Mizner and funded by studio owner Jack Warner. Whimsical architecture was popular at the time and the now famous design was created to catch the attention of passing motorists. The name was said to have derived from a similarly named New York restaurant which had been a popular hangout for vaudevillian performers in the 1920s. The CA location was across the street from a popular Hollywood night spot, the Ambassador Hotel's Cocoanut Grove.
A second Brown Derby, the Hollywood Brown Derby, opened on Valentine's Day in 1929 near the corner of Hollywood and Vine. Despite the less distinctive and mission-style facade this one soon became identified with the golden age of Hollywood. In large part due to its location near the major movie studios of the day. This location attracted such a following from the movie industry that major stars would receive fan mail addressed to them at the "Hollywood Brown Derby." Rival gossip columnists Louella Parsons and Hedda Harper were regular patrons who called it their "office headquarters." In April 1985, the Brown Derby ceased operation as it needed reconstruction due to potential earthquake damage. The restaurant was largely destroyed by fire in 1987. 

(Brown Derby vintage photos are from Internet sites with no copyright restrictions. The first photo is by Chalmers Butterfield. The second photo is from a 1952 postcard.)

15 comments:

DeniseinVA said...

Good morning and what a delicious looking salad. Definitely going to have to give this a try. Interesting about the Brown Derby. A few years back we passed a coffee stop that was built in the shape of a coffee pot. Quite an old place now closed.

Sandra said...

i would have to pick the avocado out of your salad, but bob would leave it... when we wanted to celebrate something, as in anniversary, we went to Brown Dirby Santa Mediera St Pete Beach... the food was fantastic in the mid 80's. then the sold it and the food was terrible.... here is a link to a pic of ours.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/wmbowman/7356359630/

Out on the prairie said...

Nice salad, your dressing sounds fun

diane b said...

Looks good, sounds good except for the 'crisp basin" mentioned in the first paragraph. History of the Cob salad is interesting.

Montanagirl said...

I haven't had a Cobb Salad in years, but I used to order them in restaurants. Come to think of it, I haven't even noticed it on the menu in recent years. Now, with all my stomach troubles, the doctor told me to avoid restaurant salads.

William Kendall said...

I've never heard of the Brown Derby, or Cobb salad, but the ingredients all agree with me!

L. D. said...

That is one heck of a good looking salad. It made me hungry when I saw it. I liked seeing you ingredients shot.

Lois Evensen said...

Very interesting history. We like Cobb salad, but didn't know the history.

Debbie said...

the salad looks so good, i love cobb salad and almost any kind of salad!!

Kay G. said...

We saw this on the Food Network but my English husband had never heard of Cobb Salad although I had! Now, I know why, it is very American!! Great post, thank you! Now, come to my house and make me a Cobb Salad! HA! Just kidding! xx

A Quiet Corner said...

Never knew that's what I was eating...I just make my own salad...very similar!...:)JP

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

Good heavens, but that looks healthy! I'm out here..I am sorry I haven't been around visiting lately. Sometimes I feel like I'm peddling as fast as I can.
I haven't been a very good blogging friend and I appologize. How are you two doing?? I hope you are both okay.
Love,
Mona

Daisy said...

That salad looks so good! Healthy and easy to do--that's what I like. :)

Patrica Ball Morrison said...

A healthy filling salad. and a great photo. Yum. I make up things using left overs too, soups are another way to clean out the refrigerator. Not so many left over these days as I cook way smaller portions.

Kathy said...

I have heard of cobb salad, but never had one. It seems easy enough and I don't know why I don't make it. I would have to leave out the avocado because I'm allergic, but otherwise it sounds good. Maybe for dinner tonight...

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