Cobb Salad with Roasted Onion Vinaigrette
There are conflicting stories about the origins of the Cobb Salad.
One boasts that one late night in 1937, Hollywood Brown Derby owner Robert Cobb was hungry (or he was feeding Sid Grauman, the creator of the Grauman Chinese Theater) and tossed together some components leftover from the restaurant to form this legendary salad. I love that this restaurant was shaped like a derby hat and was old Hollywood glam inside.
Another is that Cobb’s executive chef at the time, Robert Kreis created the recipe and named it in honor of the restaurant’s owner.
Whatever the true story is, one thing is for sure, this salad has spanned across the decades to become a beloved classic in the salad world.
The original recipe used various greens like watercress, chicory and romaine and something akin to a classic vinaigrette. Over the years, however, the dressing of popularity seems to have changed to Bleu Cheese dressing in restaurants across the globe. There seems to be a few ingredients in common that everyone uses, so here are what I believe to be the necessary components of a good Cobb Salad.
mean, a salad this popular is beloved for a reason right? So it goes without saying that we should not deviate too far from the original.
Greens – The original called for romaine, watercress and chicory. Everyone has their favorite lettuces, but try to stick with two or three and tear or chop them up to make a nice line down your plate or platter at least an inch or two wide. I favor one soft buttery type like buttercrunch and one crunchy type like thinly sliced kale or spinach.
Tomatoes – (don’t forget to lightly salt and pepper) they are an important acidic note to balance the richness of the following ingredients…
Bacon – need I say more? Just…bacon. Crumbled, but not too fine. All things chunky are good in this salad.
Avocado – again…no reason necessary. It would be the last known food I’d love to have before I die. A good guac could take me straight to heaven happily.
Bleu Cheese – find one you like, whether mild or stinky and pungent enough to knock your socks off. This is important stuff.
Hard Boiled Eggs – Sliced, chopped, however you want them. Just do it.
Chicken – It just always seems to be on the plate. That is all.
For the dressing, I find Bleu Cheese to be redundant and I’m not a huge fan of thick, creamy dressings anymore. The salad already has the bleu cheese so I prefer a nice vinaigrette, like the original called for to cap it off and also the acidity again cuts through some of the rich ingredients. I saw a recipe for Vidalia Onion Vinaigrette in Food & Wine magazine and after making it, revised it to my taste and opted to use that as I had a brand new bag of Vidalias in my pantry that I was dying to use. (I’ve included my dressing recipe with the printable recipe at the end of this post.)
We also had our first harvest of peas this week.
Man are those lil buggers a pain to shell!
I also used some “stuff” that was leftover in my refrigerator in tradition with Cobb’s original creation. Sometimes those thrown together things end up being a culinary masterpiece you end up coming back to time and time again.
We ate this salad as a main the first night, then used the leftovers to make a smaller version as a side for shish-ka-bobs the next night. We loved it both nights. Here is my version!
- 2 chicken breasts, (or 2 c. rotisserie chicken)
- 4 slices thick cut bacon, cooked and crumbled in medium pieces
- 2 hard boiled eggs
- 1 c. toasted walnuts
- 4 cups chopped buttercrunch lettuce
- 2 cups finely shredded kale
- 2 roma tomatoes, chopped
- ⅔ c. blue cheese crumbled
- 1 c. frozen or fresh peas (dethawed if frozen)
- 4 green onions, chopped
- 1 c. fresh or frozen corn (cooked and cooled if frozen)
- 1 avocado, chopped
- 3 unpeeled garlic cloves
- 1 large Vidalia onions. peeled and quartered
- ½ c. olive oil, plus more for brushing
- ¼ c. apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- ½ c. pure maple syrup or honey
- 1 t. fresh herbs (I used tarragon)
- 1 T. fresh chives
- ½ t. Kosher salt
- ¼ t. Freshly ground pepper
- Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and grill, then slice thinly. Or shred rotisserie chicken
- Fry, bake or microwave bacon to become crispy, let drain on paper towels, then break in medium pieces
- Toast walnuts in a dry pan over medium heat just until you smell them then let cool. Chop if preferred (I left them whole)
- Chop the lettuces
- Chop or slice the eggs (Boil eggs starting in pan with cold water. When water boils, remove pan from heat and let set, covered for 14 minutes. Drain hot water in pan and add cold water and about 8-10 ice cubes to chill, peel immediately)
- Run warm water over peas to thaw if not using fresh
- Cook corn according to package directions. Or slice fresh corn off cob and boil about 5 minutes. Rinse with cold water and drain
- Chop tomatoes and lightly salt and pepper
- Chop green onions
- Chop avocado
- Take each ingredient and make a line from top to bottom of platter or plate almost overlapping with next ingredient. Assemble so like colors don't adjoin one another for it to be the prettiest!
- Preheat oven to 425º
- Place onion (cut side down) and garlic on pan. Brush onion tops with olive oil. Roast until onion gets slightly charred, about 45 minutes to one hour. Remove to cool.
- Squeeze garlic out of cloves into blender. Add onions and all remaining ingredients except oil and blend about 30 seconds. Slowly drizzle in olive oil. (Dressing can be made ahead 4-5 days and kept in refrigerator). Drizzle over assembled salads
Want to see what other wonderful food bloggers made this week featuring tomatoes for Food Network’s Summer Soiree?
The Heritage Cook: Rice and Cheese Stuffed Roasted Tomatoes (Gluten-Free)
The Lemon Bowl: 5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Beef & Eggplant
Homemade Delish: Sweet Tomato Jam
Healthy Eats: 7 Seasonal Uses for Fresh Tomatoes
Creative Culinary: Warm Tomato and Mozzarella Bruschetta
Weelicious: Heirloom Tomato Salad
Dishin & Dishes: Cobb Salad with Homemade Roasted Onion Vinaigrette
Domesticate Me: 10 Totally Awesome Tomato Recipes
Swing Eats: Tiny Insalata Caprese
The Wimpy Vegetarian: Tomato and Swiss Tart
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Tomato Pickle
Taste with the Eyes: Quiche with a Black Quinoa Crust, Heirloom Tomatoes, Spinach, Goat Cheese
Red or Green: Summer Pasta With No-Cook Tomato Sauce
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Heirloom Tomato & Crouton Casserole (Scalloped Tomatoes)
The Mom 100: Chopped Salad with Chicken, Tomatoes and Lemon Thyme Dressing
FN Dish: 10 Ways to Be a Tomato Whisperer