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
- 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.)