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What Is a Cobb Salad?

How to Make a Classic Cobb Salad

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Cobb Salad

Cobb Salad

Photo © Molly Watson

Legend has it that this American classic was created by Bob Cobb as a midnight snack after a night of catering to Hollywood's elite at his famous Brown Derby restaurant in Los Angeles. Sid Grauman of Grauman's Chinese Theatre was there and came back the next night for more. The crisp lettuce and acidic tomatoes off-set the rich flavors of avocado, bacon, and blue cheese, while the hard boiled egg and chicken add plenty of protein. Cobb soon added it to his menu and a classic found a wide and appreciative audience.

Whether that's the whole story, or even remotely true, doesn't really matter because the spirit of it defines the salad: a casual, thrown-together meal, made with what's at hand to delicious effect.

I prefer my cobb salad ingredients chopped up, so they are similarly sized and easy to eat, but crumbled bacon, shredded chicken, and tomato and egg wedges aren't unheard of either, so feel free to prepare them differently, if you like. You can add in or take out ingredients to suit your taste, obviously, but the following are what are in a Classic Cobb Salad:

You can toss all the ingredients with a dressing or simply drizzle the dressing over the top. What I like to do, however, is toss the lettuce with the dressing and then add the other ingredients on top. Cobb salads are often served with a fairly classic mustard-laden vinaigrette dressing like this Classic French Vinaigrette or Shallot Vinaigrette with a wee bit of Worcestershire thrown in. I tend to use a more lemon-y dressing like a Lemon Garlic Vinaigrette, but have also been known to forgo the avocado in the salad and use an Avocado Vinaigrette or put the blue cheese in the dressing as in this Blue Cheese Dressing.

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