Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Classic Cobb Salad

The Cobb Salad was invented at The Brown Derby in Los Angeles in 1926, and named for its creator — Robert Howard Cobb. This main dish garden salad is usually made up of mixed salad greens, tomatoes, crisp bacon, roasted chicken breast, hard-boiled eggs, avocados, chives, Roquefort cheese and a red-wine vinaigrette. Stories vary as to whether the salad was invented by Cobb or by his chef, Chuck Wilson, but legend is that Cobb had not eaten near midnight, and so he mixed together leftovers he found in the kitchen, along with some bacon cooked by the line cook, and tossed it with their French dressing. And so, the Cobb Salad was born.

Using local organic green and farm-fresh eggs from Brooklands Farm in Muskoka and smoked ham from Cosmo's Smoked Meat at the Bracebridge Farmer's Market, we enjoyed this lovely heart-smart Cobb Salad over the July 1st long weekend, along with a warm baguette and a bottle or two of chilled Rosé. One of the lovely things about a Cobb Salad is that it is, by it's nature, a spontaneous creation — so do what Chuck Wilson did, and grab whatever tasty leftovers you have in your fridge, and create your own Cobb. 

Muskoka Cobb Salad
Serves 6

1 lb cooked chicken breast, sliced
1 lb cooked smoked ham, sliced
8 oz Cheddar cheese, sliced
8 oz Swiss cheese, sliced
1 ripe avocado, skinned, pitted and sliced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
3 eggs, hardboiled and quartered
1 head of boston lettuce or local greens
3 greens onions, chopped
2 tbsp chives, chopped

2/3 cup olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, garlic, vinegar, Dijon, and salt & pepper to taste. Whisk the dressing until it's emulsified. 

In a large salad bowl, toss together the mixed lettuces, green onions and 1/2 cup of vinaigrette and mix well. Compose the salad. Arrange the chicken, ham, cheeses, and tomato decoratively over the greens and garnish with the sliced egg, avocado and chives. Drizzle the remainder of the dressing over the composed salad and serve.