Here’s everything you want to know about Cobb salad, including who invented the Cobb salad in California, the Cobb salad’s history, and how to craft the perfect Cobb salad.
Q: Who invented the Cobb salad? A: Like many other inventions, there is some debate regarding the details of who invented Cobb salad, but one thing is for certain: Hollywood’s Brown Derby Restaurant had something to do with it. Whether owner Robert Howard Cobb himself was the Cobb salad inventor or whether the restaurant’s head chef should get the credit, the world may never know.
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Q: What is the history of Cobb salad? A: As the most common version of the story goes, Robert Howard Cobb started the Brown Derby Restaurant with Herbert Somborn in 1926. Known at the time as “The Little Hat,” this eatery was literally shaped like a brown derby hat and was opened in the hopes of bringing super-fresh, high-quality food to Southern California during a time when it was sorely lacking.
Working late one night in 1937 and entertaining some of his famous friends, Cobb went into the kitchen to scrounge up some leftovers for their midnight snack. After finding some lettuce, blue cheese, chicken, tomatoes, and scraps of bacon, he assembled the concoction and brought it out. The dish was so warmly received that one of these friends, Sid Grauman—of the iconic Grauman’s Chinese Theatre (now known as the TCL Chinese Theatre)—came back the very next day and ordered the “Cobb salad.” The salad was added to the restaurant’s menu and was chopped and assembled in front of the guests, making it a must-try experience. The dish was a hit from then on.
There are other versions of the story, though. Some claim that the restaurant’s head chef actually added the dish to the menu, while others tout that a dental procedure led Cobb to chop the ingredients into small pieces and create the dish we know today.
However the Cobb salad came about, we’re glad the Golden State’s fresh ingredients made it onto our plates in such an interesting and delectable way. Although the original Brown Derby closed in 1985, the legacy of the Cobb salad lives on.
Q: What are the key ingredients in a Cobb salad? A: Iceberg and romaine lettuces, avocado, tomatoes, chicken breast, hard-boiled eggs, bacon, Roquefort cheese, and the classic Cobb salad dressing are the dish’s staples, though many recipes take creative liberties.
Q: How do you make a Cobb salad for a party? A: The Cobb salad was made for large groups. While there is nothing wrong with a single serving of this deliciously filling dish, the stunning plating and simple assembly make it the ideal no-fuss party food—you’ll even be able to please guests on the keto diet with a bacon- and cheese-forward keto Cobb salad.
Cobb Salad Recipe
If you’re looking for a Cobb salad recipe, you’re in luck: We’ve assembled a 12-person Cobb salad recipe we think the California inventor himself would be proud of.
Cobb Salad Dressing Similar to the origins of the salad itself, the original Cobb salad dressing recipe is hotly debated. While many recipes claim that the original included egg yolks, some stick to oils, and others incorporate red wine vinegar into the mix. No matter which way you lean, this dressing is sure to please. (To make your Cobb salad keto-approved, make sure to watch the proportions of fat and carbs, and of course, nix the sugar in the dressing.)
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