And no, I’m not talking about the late, great actor, Lee J. Cobb, ‘though who can forget him — or any of the other stellar cast? — from “Twelve Angry Men.” Go on, admit it — whenever you get a summons for jury duty, in the back of your mind, you secretly wonder if it’s going to be like “Twelve Angry Men.” 😉
Nope, I’m talking about Cobb Salad. Hubby had a hankering for a nice, big, cool salad for supper one night, and in reviewing the contents of my pantry, fridge, and freezer, I thought Cobb Salad would be the way to go. It turned out yummy as well as pretty!According to handy Wikipedia, there is some disagreement about the origins of Cobb Salad:
Various stories of how the salad was invented exist. One says that it came about in the 1930s at the Hollywood Brown Derby restaurant, where it became a signature dish. It is named for the restaurant’s owner, Robert Howard Cobb. Stories vary as to whether the salad was invented by Cobb or by his chef, Chuck Wilson. The legend is that Cobb had not eaten until near midnight, and so he mixed together leftovers he found in the kitchen, along with some bacon cooked by the line cook, and tossed it with their French dressing. This version of the story (dated to 1937) is retold in episode 3, season 2, of comedy series Curb Your Enthusiasm, when Larry David searches for evidence to prove that another character has falsely claimed that his grandfather invented the salad.
Another version of the creation is that Robert Kreis, executive chef at the restaurant, created the salad in 1929 and named it in honor of Bob Cobb, the owner. The same source confirms that 1937 was the reported date of the version noted above, with Cobb making the salad.
Regardless of its origins, like many main dish salads, Cobb Salad can be a great way to use up some leftovers (chicken, boiled egg, avocado, bacon, and bleu cheese), or, lacking appropriate leftovers, you can whip up the components easily enough.
While the hallmarks of a Cobb Salad are chicken, hard-boiled egg, avocado, bacon, and bleu cheese, as with many salads, you can be quite versatile with it, working with what you have on hand. Don’t have avocado? Use a dollop of guacamole. Don’t have or like bleu cheese? Use some feta instead…or, instead of the traditional vinaigrette dressing, use some bleu cheese dressing. Regardless, that’s part of the pleasure of making it yourself — you make it to suit your tastes and what is in your pantry!
Vegetarians: Some simple but yummy substitutions will allow you to enjoy this salad, too! For example, use vegetarian bacon instead of turkey bacon. Use a vegetarian chicken substitute, or perhaps substitute the chicken with chickpeas or rinsed and drained cooked white beans.
I fashioned my very own Cobb-Style Vinaigrette dressing for this salad, which I also used as a marinade for the boneless, skinless chicken breast I cooked up for the salad (I didn’t have any leftover chicken to use). I’m really proud of it and it was pretty yummy. You can adjust it to the level of tartness you want.
So the next time you’re wanting a yummy main dish salad, whip up a Cobb Salad and some of my Cobb-Style Vinaigrette (and Marinade). It’s so yummy, you’ll reflect some Cobb style of your own and break out into dance, I promise! (Go on, take less than three minutes from your day to enjoy this — it’ll bring a smile to your face, I just know it — and you know it, too!)
Missie’s Own Tart and Tangy Cobb-Style Vinaigrette (and Marinade) (I pretty much eye-ball it all and adjust to taste)
- About 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup lemon juice
- Healthy squirts of Dijon mustard to taste
- Splash of honey or artificial sweetener to taste
- Splash of Worcestershire sauce
- Sprinkling of garlic powder AND onion powder to taste
- Coarse ground black pepper to taste
- Whisper of salt
- Whisk ingredients together, adjusting flavors to taste.
- Keep refrigerated.
Cobb Salad (Note: I’m not giving any precise measurements — amounts will depend on whether you’re making this salad as a heartier main course, starter, or light meal)
- Salad greens
- Hard boiled egg, sliced in slices (traditional) or wedges (do it how you want to!)
- Tomato, sliced in wedges (or cherry tomato, cut in half or left whole, or grape or cherub tomato)
- Cooked chicken (shredded, chopped, cubed — however you want it)
- Bleu cheese crumbles
- Sliced avocado
- Crumbed bacon (I use turkey bacon)
- Arrange salad greens on a plate, platter, or deep bowl.
- Arrange chicken, avocado, hard boiled egg, bleu cheese, crumbled bacon, and tomato in rows on bed of salad greens.
- Drizzle with dressing.
- Devour! 🙂