Los Angeles's Brown Derby Restaurant closed its doors long ago, but this classic salad invented in 1937 by the restaurant's owner, Robert H. Cobb, lives on in Ontario with my friend Chris's delicious Cobb Salad, which makes an eagerly awaited appearance every summer at her cottage up in Muskoka. Taking full advantage of the local Farmer's Market which takes place every Saturday morning during the summer in nearby Bracebridge, Chris buy's her delicious smoked ham and cheeses for her Cobb Salad from Cosmo's Smoked Meats, and her local greens from Brookland's Farm on Butter & Egg Road in the heart of Muskoka. Served with some warm crusty fresh baguette and a drizzle of olive oil, this is one my favourite salads Chris makes each and every summer.
Chris's Muskoka Cobb Salad
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
3/4 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 bunch mixed leaf lettuce, such mache, red leaf, arugula, mesclun etc.
1 bunch watercress, some of the stems trimmed, chopped
4 oz Gruyere cheese, julienned
4 oz sharp Cheddar cheese, julienned
8 oz dry smoked ham, julienned
3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut into sixths
2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and sliced into eighths
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and torn into bite size pieces
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced thinly
Maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp minced chives
Make the dressing by puréeing the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, sugar and garlic in a blender to make a smooth dressing. Season with salt and pepper then set aside or refrigerate, covered, for up to 1 week.
To make the Cobb salad, arrange the lettuces along with the watercress in a large wooden bowl or platter. Add the cheeses, smoked ham, eggs, tomatoes, chicken, and avocado on top of the greens. To serve, drizzle the salad with dressing, season with salt and pepper, and top with chives.