The Cobb Salad. The Brown Derby Dressing

The Cobb Salad came in to existence in 1937. Created late at night, with access to the restaurant’s kitchen, then Brown Derby owner Bob Cobb threw together ingredients readily at hand, and a star was born.

The original creation consisted of iceberg lettuce, an avocado, romaine, watercress, tomatoes, chicken breast meat, hard boiled egg, chives, cheese, crispy bacon and French dressing.
I’ve enjoyed many permutations of the Cobb, but had forgotten about its sturdying protein blast and interesting history until flipping through one of my journals. On one page, I had hastily written down the recipe for the Brown Derby salad dressing. Not knowing why or how, or what exactly it was I was looking for anyway, the dressing and the Cobb salad has taken up my attention.
The dressing – see below - has evolved somewhat from its French dressing origins – but with its hits of red wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and dry English mustard, the baby’s got kick, a kick that can stand up to bacon, blue cheese, chicken and avocado.
In fact, it was a little too jarring against delicate fennel and celery that was already on the go for the previous evening’s salad, below, so Cobb for lunch the next day was on the agenda.
(But, I think it would be ace highlighting braised winter greens such as kale tossed with bacon and shallots).
The salad too, has evolved. I’ve seen it served with a poached egg, a boiled quail’s egg, with less ingredients, and with more. I’ve seen it on old Vegas restaurant menus, in steak houses and on Canadian pub menus. It’s a hungry man dish, a classic, a perfect rejoinder after a bout of too much booze, or nourishment after pulling a grueling shift.
It’s also a perfect winter salad, comforting on a cold day.
Crunchy iceberg lettuce provides a steady base for hard boiled eggs, bacon – only the double smoked bacon from Red Barn will do – crumbled blue cheese, avocado, quartered tomatoes and shredded chicken meat from the previous night’s roasted bird.
Simply compose the salad on a plate, or platter, if you’re entertaining guests. Drizzle over the dressing and serve. Add freshly cracked pepper to taste.
Brown Derby Salad Dressing (for Cobb Salad)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. black pepper
3/4 tsp. Worcestershire
1/4 tsp. dry English mustard
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup vegetable oil
Put all the ingredients in a jar with a lid. Shake it, baby!


3 Responses to “The Cobb Salad. The Brown Derby Dressing”

  1. lulu says:

    great article and terrific action shot!

  2. raedi says:

    Was looking up different takes on the Cobb salad (on our menu this weekend.) Loved your blog nice pictures ….RaeDi

  3. Thanks for your comments, RaeDi, and happy you’re spreading the Cobb Salad love.

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