Cobb Salad: A Meal in a Salad Bowl

Much to my delight, I realized today that I have the makings of a Cobb Salad on hand. This hearty mix of lettuce, eggs, bacon, avocados, tomatoes and blue cheese is my favorite salad meal. It seems to have fallen out of favor during the 1990s low-fat craze, but recently I’ve noticed it on more restaurant menus, sometimes generically labeled as “chopped salad.”

Cobb salad is named for Bob Cobb, who was owner of Hollywood’s legendary Brown Derby Restaurant in the 1930s. Legend has it that he invented the salad one night in 1937 out of leftovers he rummaged from the kitchen. Or maybe he invented it in 1929. Or maybe his chef really invented it. Whatever the case, it quickly caught on.

Some restaurants serve Cobb Salad with blue cheese or ranch dressing, but I consider that overkill. The blue cheese should be lightly crumbled into the salad, which is dressed with a vinaigrette. Cobb Salad does require that you plan ahead; the bacon, eggs and chicken need to be cooked and cooled before you toss the salad together.

Whisk together your own vinaigrette out of white wine vinegar, olive oil and a bit of dry mustard, or use your favorite store-bought vinaigrette.

Serve this with a little Italian or French bread and some iced tea and you’ve got a simple, satisfying dinner.

Cobb Salad

Makes 2 servings

2 strips crisp-cooked bacon
2 hard-cooked (boiled) eggs
1 medium avocado
1 medium tomato
1/2 medium head iceberg lettuce
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/2 cup chopped celery or 1/4 cup chopped green onions (optional)
1 cup diced chicken or turkey breast (boneless and skinless), optional
Vinaigrette (homemade or store-bought)

Crumble the bacon. Coarsely chop the eggs. Peel and pit the avocado, then coarsely chop. Chop and seed the tomato.

Tear or chop the lettuce into bite-size pieces. Divide between 2 dinner plates. Sprinkle the bacon, eggs, avocado, tomato, blue cheese,  celery and chicken over the lettuce and toss. Add vinaigrette to taste and toss again.

Serve immediately.