Chef Andy: What about Bob?
By Chef Andy Mueller
Owner, Galley 57
Legend has it that The Brown Derby restaurant in Los Angeles was the birthplace of the Cobb salad.
The owner of the restaurant’s last name was Cobb, and the story says he was hungry late one night and rummaged through the cooler to find a few things to throw together to nosh on.
After finding leftover chicken, hard cooked eggs, crispy bacon, some tomatoes and avocado, he whipped up a light vinaigrette, tossed everything together and served it over lettuce topped with blue cheese.
He then shared it with a friend who liked it so much, she came to the restaurant the next day and ordered the “Cobb salad,’’ and a culinary legend was born.
I was intrigued by the back story, but was even more curious about why his parents would be so cruel and give him the first name Bob. Yes, his name was Bob Cobb, he was real, and the salad is delicious.
Different variations exist all over the country, but the one I’m sharing with you is as close to the original as I could get without ever having eaten at the Brown Derby restaurant. The light but zesty vinaigrette picks up the other ingredients remarkably, and the blue cheese adds that almost umami feeling as you try to get every ingredient in one bite.
It’s the perfect outlet for leftover grilled or rotisserie chicken, as the other ingredients are usually not hard to find and may even be in your home kitchen anyway.
It does give me an idea…if Bob Cobb can be famous for a salad, why can’t I create my own creation and make it big. What do you think…care for an old fashioned made with Andy Brandy?
For the vinaigrette, in a mixing bowl, add:
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard (I use dusseldorf, but that’s the German in me)
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Generous amount of fresh cracked black pepper
Slowly whisk in:
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Adjust seasonings to taste. Pour 1/2 the dressing into a separate serving dish. Leave half of the dressing in the mixing bowl.
Add to the mixing bowl:
- 1 head iceberg lettuce, washed dried and torn into pieces
- 1 cup arugula
- 2 cups spring mix
- Toss the greens in the vinaigrette to coat then arrange the greens on a large serving platter.
- Arrange the following ingredients in separate straight lines on top of the greens:
- Diced tomatoes
- Crispy cooked bacon, diced
- Hard cooked eggs, peeled and quartered
- Sliced or diced grilled or roasted chicken
- Blue cheese crumbles
Guests can help themselves by choosing what they like on the platter. Serve reserved vinaigrette to drizzle on top.