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David Lissner
for restaurants

Eat this! Cobb salad, a classic use for avocados and bacon

RB Grille’s seafood Cobb salad.

RB Grille’s seafood Cobb salad.

What it is: A hearty entree salad traditionally containing chopped avocado, bacon, tomatoes, hard-boiled egg, Roquefort cheese and breast of chicken over a variety of greens.

Where it comes from: The legendary Brown Derby restaurant in Hollywood, Calif., originated the salad in the 1930s, named for owner Robert H. Cobb. Stories vary about whether Cobb or his chef first made it and for whom, but eventually he put it on the menu. It soon became a trend, and the restaurant served some 4 million of them before it closed in 1985.

What to do with it: The chopped ingredients of the Cobb salad are often arranged in attractive patterns for presentation, with the salad tossed just before serving. The Cobb also lends itself to endless variations. These days, any salad containing avocado, bacon and hard-boiled egg is likely to be called a Cobb. At RB Grille in River North, Chef Christopher McCoy upgrades the salad with lobster, shrimp and bay scallops.

Original Cobb salad

1/2 head iceberg lettuce, chopped
1/2 bunch watercress, chopped
1 small bunch chicory, chopped
1/2 head romaine, chopped
2 chicken breasts, boiled, chilled and diced
2 medium-sized tomatoes, peeled and diced
1 avocado, diced
6 strips crisp bacon, finely chopped
3 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1/2 cup finely grated imported Roquefort cheese
1 cup red-wine vinaigrette

Place the chopped greens on a platter and arrange the diced chicken, tomatoes and avocado over the top. Sprinkle over the top the chopped bacon, eggs, chives and cheese. Just before serving, mix the salad thoroughly with the dressing. 4 to 6 servings.

RB Grille’s seafood Cobb salad
Chef Christopher McCoy

Christopher McCoy

Christopher McCoy

Avocado vinaigrette:
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lemon, freshly squeezed
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Juice of 3/4 navel orange, freshly squeezed
1-1/2 avocados, diced
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 dry-packed bay scallops
2 shrimp

1/2 head Boston or Bibb lettuce
1 hard boiled egg, sliced with egg slicer
1 Roma tomato, diced, or 4 grape tomatoes
2 slices cooked bacon, chopped
1/2 avocado, diced
3 segments navel orange (reserved from above), membrane removed
1 ounce lobster knuckle meat, steamed and chilled
1 piece lobster claw, steamed, chilled and removed from shell
1 teaspoon sliced green onion

Make the vinaigrette: Place all ingredients except the olive oil in a blender and puree until all is incorporated. Turn on high and slowly pour in olive oil until blended. Use as dressing.

Cook the seafood: Heat the oil over high heat in a saute pan and cook the scallops to a caramelized brown on each side. Take out of the pan and rest on a towel. Using the same pan, saut the shrimp until they are cooked through.

Prepare the salad: Place the lettuce on a plate in a cup shape, twisting the leaves to open up. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the dressing over the lettuce. Place the scallops and shrimp over the dressing, shingle the sliced egg off to the side, and place the tomatoes around the salad.

Layer the lobster knuckle meat over tomatoes, and then the chopped bacon, place oranges spilling off opposite side of egg, and finish with diced avocado on top. Garnish with the lobster claw and green onion and drizzle another 2 tablespoons of dressing over the salad. 1 entree serving.

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