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Old 06-13-2005, 09:34 AM   #1
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REC & Legend of Cobb Salad - Served at The Brown Derby

The History of Cobb Salad
from Aurthur Schwartz


Cobb salad was created at the Brown Derby in Hollywood. Here's the official story ... or legend, if you will ... as recorded by the Brown Derby itself:

"One night in 1937, Bob Cobb, then owner of The Brown Derby, prowled hungrily in his restaurant's kitchen for a snack. Opening the huge refrigerator, he pulled out this and that: a head of lettuce, an avocado, some romaine, watercress, tomatoes, some cold breast of chicken, a hard-boiled egg, chives, cheese and some old-fashioned French dressing. He started chopping. Added some crisp bacon -- swiped from a busy chef.

"The Cobb salad was born. It was so good, Sid Grauman (Grauman's Chinese Theatre), who was with Cobb that midnight, asked the next day for a 'Cobb Salad.' It was so good that it was put on the menu.

"Cobb's midnight invention became an overnight sensation with Derby customers, people like movie mogul Jack Warner, who regularly dispatched his chauffeur to pick up a carton of the mouth-watering salad."

Since 1937, more than 4 million Cobb salads have been sold at Brown Derby restaurants, according to the Brown Derby Restaurant Group, which, now that the two original Hollywood restaurants have closed, is what the company calls itself. It licenses the restaurant name for merchandise (including bottled Cobb salad dressing), as well as to Disney, which opened a reproduction of the original Brown Derby in Orlando, Florida, in 1989 and, in 1990. signed a 20-year agreement for Brown Derby restaurants in Tokyo, Paris and Anaheim, California. You can read all about The Brown Derby and its glamorous customers in The Brown Derby Restaurant: A Hollywood Legend, which includes many of the Derby's recipes.

Footnote: There's also a legend about how the Brown Derby got its name: One night, Herbert Somborn, an ex-husband of Gloria Swanson, remarked -- speaking of the mood of Hollywood in the roaring 20s -- that "You could open a restaurant in an alley and call it anything. If the food and service were good, the patrons would just come flocking. It could be called something as ridiculous as the Brown Derby." Hence, a restaurant shaped like a hat opened near Hollywood and Vine in 1926.


Cobb Salad

1/2 head lettuce, about 4 cups

1 bunch watercress

1 small bunch chicory, about 2 1/2 cups

1/2 head romaine, about 2 1/2 cups

2 medium peeled tomatoes

6 strips of crisp bacon

2 breasts of boiled chicken

3 hard cooked eggs

1 avocado

1/2 cup crumbled Roquefort cheese

2 tablespoons chopped chives

1 cup (approximately) Original Cobb Salad Dressing

Cut lettuce, half the watercress, chicory and romaine in fine pieces and arrange in a large salad bowl.


Cut tomatoes, bacon, chicken, eggs, and avocado in small pieces and arrange, along with the crumbled Roquefort cheese, in strips on the greens.

Sprinkle finely cut chives over the Cobb salad and garnish with the remaining watercress.

Just before serving mix the salad with the Cobb salad dressing.


Original Cobb Salad Dressing
Makes 1 1/2 cups

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 teaspoons salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon dry English mustard

1 small clove garlic, finely minced

1/4 cup full-flavored olive oil

3/4 cup salad oil

Blend all ingredients together, except oils. Add olive and salad oils. Mix well.
Blend well again before mixing with salad.

A note from the Brown Derby: "The water is optional, depending upon the degree of oiliness desired in the dressing."

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Old 06-13-2005, 11:51 AM   #2
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Thanks mish. Cobb salad is an absolute favorite of one of my friends so I'll be sure to pass this on to her.
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Old 06-13-2005, 12:13 PM   #3
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You're welcome, PA.

Liked reading the history/legend about the salad. Was sorry I never had the chance to visit The Brown Derby. (Think it was taken over by Sonny Bono, when he was alive.) I always smile when I see the I Love Lucy episode of her eating spaghetti & star-gazing.
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Old 06-13-2005, 12:23 PM   #4
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Mish, that is really cool. I have always made my Cobb salad with bleu cheese, never tried Roquefort. And I had a creamier dressing recipe that I used, I like the sounds of the one you have on there, I make one very similar to it, actually it is EXACTLY like the one you have on there! I am going to make one for dinner tonight. THANKS!
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Old 06-13-2005, 12:50 PM   #5
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Here's a lithograph of The Brown Derby.
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Old 06-13-2005, 04:16 PM   #6
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Neat. I like seeing pictures like this.
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Old 06-13-2005, 04:55 PM   #7
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Thanks Alix Me too.
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