Cobb Salad

Hollywood’s Brown Derby on North Vine, which opened Valentine’s Day 1929, became more known as a schmoozing spot for studio moguls and screen stars than for its food, but one dish is always mentioned. Cobb salad was named after a founder of the Brown Derby chain, and it enjoyed a brief resurgence of popularity in the late 1970s. The “original” recipe–bear in mind this is Hollywood–was published in the first edition of their cookbook (Doubleday; 1952). In one restaurant where I worked, we used a blue cheese dressing similar to Roquefort and not the French at all. Unless you had time on your hands, which was unlikely during a busy hour, it was a real chore to make; the ingredients had to be arranged just so in alternating bands over a bed of lettuce, usually shredded iceberg or chopped romaine. The original recipe used both of these with chicory and watercress topped with tomatoes, roast chicken, crumbled bacon, chopped boiled eggs, chives and crumbled Roquefort, tossed with simple French dressing.

Simple French Dressing

This recipe is easily made with ingredients you likely have on hand. Put a cup of vegetable oil, ½ cup (tomato) ketchup, ¼ cup apple cider vinegar (white will work and pickle juice will do in a pinch) and a teaspoon sugar in a jar and shake until mixed well. Salt to taste before tossing with salad.

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