I distinctly remember the first time I had a Cobb salad. We were on a motor trip, driving through Virginia, when we stopped for lunch at a local restaurant serving “home-cooked” meals. The day was very warm and since we would be continuing with our driving I wanted something cool and light for lunch. Cobb salad was what I ordered, not knowing what to expect, but the description of it was enticing.
The salad lived up to its promise, having lots of my favorite foods in it and I thought it was delicious. Since then I have made this salad many times and we enjoy it as our main meal in the summer months when there is so much fresh produce available.
Recently Food Network Magazine ran an article on Classic Salads and the Cobb salad was one that was featured. This is where I learned the background on the salad. Quoting from the magazine, ” Cobb Salad , 1934. This popular dinner salad originated as a midnight snack for Robert Cobb, owner of the Hollywood Brown Derby restaurant in Los Angeles.” The classic Cobb salad usually contains these essential ingredients: chicken, bacon, hard cooked eggs, tomatoes, avocado and cheese on a bed of lettuce.
The recipe that follows is the one from the Food Network article. However I made some modifications when I prepared the salad. I used some Rotisserie Chicken instead of cooking chicken breasts, and I substituted cheddar cheese for the blue cheese. ( It had not found its way onto the salad at the time of photography.)
CLASSIC COBB SALAD
Yield: serves 4 – 6
- 8 slices thick cut bacon, chopped
- 4 large eggs
- kosher salt
- 2 6-ounce skinless, boneless, chicken breasts
- zest – in wide strips – and juice of 1 lemon
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 1 Tbsp. black peppercorns
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 shallot, minced
- 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 avocados
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 1 large head Bibb lettuce, torn into pieces
- 1 head romaine lettuce, cut into pieces
- 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
1. Cook the bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat, until crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
2. Meanwhile, place the eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water by about 1 inch. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then cover, remove from the heat and let stand 10 – 12 minutes. Drain, then run under cold water to cool. Peel under cold running water. Chop the hard-cooked eggs and season with salt.
3. Combine the chicken, lemon zest and juice, bay leaves, thyme, peppercorns and large pinch of salt in a medium saucepan; Add enough cold water to cover the chicken b 1/2 inch. Bring to a bare simmer over medium heat ( do not boil) and cook until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken registers 160*, about 7 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, make the dressing: whisk the vinegar, shallot, mustard and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a serving bowl. Whisk in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream until emulsified; season with pepper. Dice the chicken and toss with 1 tablespoon of the dressing in a separate bowl.
5. Halve, pit and dice the avocados. Season the tomatoes with salt. Add the Bibb and romaine lettuce to the serving bowl on top of the dressing. Arrange the bacon, hard-cooked eggs, chicken, avocados, tomatoes and cheese in rows on top of the lettuce. When ready to serve toss the salad and season with salt and pepper.
SOURCE: Food Network Magazine