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What Makes a Cobb Salad a Cobb Salad?

I recently ordered a Cobb Salad at a restaurant and I enjoyed it very much. Why is it referred to as a Cobb Salad? I have been trying to find out and haven't had any luck.

Wouldn't it be sad if someone named a dish after you and it became really well known and eventually people remembered the dish but not you? Well, that hasn't completely happened to Robert Cobb, but it's getting close. Cobb was the owner of the famous Brown Derby restaurant in Hollywood.

Legend has it that Cobb was strolling through the restaurant kitchen late one night probably in 1936, hungry, and started pulling things off the shelves and out of the refrigerators — avocado, tomato, lettuce, cold chicken, hard-boiled egg, bacon, Roquefort cheese, etc. (the ingredients vary a bit, depending on which legend you follow) — and put together quite a nice salad. The ingredients were chopped into a fine dice, arranged in stripes on top of the lettuce, and dressed with French dressing.

The legend continues that Sid Grauman, of Grauman's Chinese Theater, was with Cobb at the Brown Derby that night, and showed up again the next day, asking for the "Cobb Salad." It was added to the menu, and became one of the first composed main-dish salads. Robert Cobb passed away in 1970, but the salad that bears his name seems nearly as popular as ever. This version is thought to be the original:

Cobb Salad


1/2 head iceberg lettuce
1/2 bunch watercress
1 small bunch chicory (curly endive)
1/2 head romaine lettuce
2 tablespoons minced chives
2 medium-size tomatoes
1 whole chicken breast (both halves), poached, boned, skin removed
6 strips bacon, cooked
1 avocado, peeled, pit removed
3 hard-boiled eggs
1/2 cup Roquefort cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup Cobb Salad French Dressing


Individually chop the iceberg lettuce, watercress, chicory (curly endive) and romaine lettuce into fine pieces, by hand or using a food processor (pulsing carefully to mince evenly). Mix all the greens together in a large bowl; add the chives, and toss to mix.

Peel, seed and chop the tomatoes into small dice. Dice the cooked chicken breast, bacon, avocado and hard-boiled eggs. Arrange the mixed greens on a large shallow platter or bowl (or arrange on individual serving dishes). Place each of the chopped ingredients in rows (strips) or wedges (like the spokes of a wheel) on top of the greens. Sprinkle with the Roquefort cheese, or arrange the cheese in a strip or wedge along with the other ingredients. Chill the composed salad until serving time. Toss with about 1/2 cup of the special French Dressing, and serve immediately.

Yield: Serves 6


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