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Cobb Salad – Once Upon a Chef

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Cobb Salad – Once Upon a Chef


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So classic, so satisfying – this loaded Cobb salad makes a meal.

Photo by Johnny Miller (Clarkson Potter, 2021)

I love salads that have a lot of “stuff” in them, and this classic cobb salad fits the bill. But what makes it really special is that, instead of using plain poached or grilled chicken, which can be a bit boring, the chicken is cooked in the rendered fat from the bacon – a technique I borrowed from a New York Times recipe by Alison Roman. Not only does it add a surprising amount of flavor to the salad, but it also makes full use of all of the ingredients. Go ahead and cook some extra bacon; it’s impossible to resist the temptation to sneak a few bites while you put the rest of the salad together.

What You’ll Need To Make Cobb Salad

ingredients for cobb salad

A traditional Cobb salad is made with lettuce, chicken, bacon, avocados, tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, blue cheese, and red wine vinaigrette. There are various accounts of how the salad came to be, but according to most, the story goes that one night in 1937, Robert Cobb, the owner of the Brown Derby restaurant in Hollywood, CA was hungry after all the restaurant patrons had left. He went digging in the fridge late-night and pulled out a variety of leftovers – lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, cheese, and hard-boiled eggs. He also grabbed some bacon to add to the mix, tossed everything together with some dressing, and created what we now know to be a Cobb salad. Supposedly, it became the one of the restaurant’s signature dishes.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Make the Dressing

Combine the shallot, vinegar, oil, mustard, salt, pepper, and sugar in a medium jar with a tight-fitting lid.

vinaigrette ingredients in glass jar

Screw on the lid and shake vigorously to emulsify. (Alternatively, whisk the ingredients together in a bowl.)

emulsified vinaigrette in jar

Step 2: Cook the Bacon & Chicken

In a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon.

raw bacon in nonstick skillet

Stir occasionally until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes.

sizzling crispy bacon in skillet

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, leaving the fat in the pan.

transferring bacon to a paper towel lined plate

Season the chicken with the salt and add to the bacon fat in a single layer.

raw chicken pieces in skillet with bacon fat

Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Using the slotted spoon, remove the chicken to a plate and set aside to cool.

cooked chicken pieces in skillet

Step 3: Assemble the Salad

Put the romaine, chicken, and the tomatoes in a large mixing bowl. Give the dressing a shake to re-emulsify, then add three-quarters of it to the bowl; toss gently to combine. Add more dressing, little by little, until the greens are dressed to your liking. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.

tossing the greens, chicken, and tomatoes with the dressing

Arrange the salad mixture on a serving platter or plates. Sprinkle the hard-boiled eggs, avocado, blue cheese (if using), and reserved bacon over the salad. Pass the pepper mill at the table.

Photo by Johnny Miller (Clarkson Potter, 2021)

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Classic Cobb

So classic, so satisfying – this loaded Cobb salad makes a meal.

Ingredients

For the Vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots (from 1 medium shallot)
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon sugar

For the Salad

  • 6 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 pound chicken tenders, cut into ¾-inch pieces
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 romaine hearts, (from one 22-ounce bag), roughly chopped
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved if desired
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, diced
  • 2 avocados, pitted and diced
  • ½ cup crumbled blue cheese (optional)

Instructions

  1. Make the Vinaigrette: Combine the shallot, vinegar, oil, mustard, salt, pepper, and sugar in a medium jar with a tight-fitting lid; screw on the lid and shake vigorously to emulsify. (Alternatively, whisk the ingredients together in a bowl.)
  2. Make the salad: In a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, leaving the fat in the pan. Season the chicken with the salt and add to the bacon fat in a single layer; cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Using the slotted spoon, remove the chicken to a plate and set aside to cool.
  3. Put the romaine, chicken, and the tomatoes in a large mixing bowl. Give the dressing a shake to re-emulsify, then add three-quarters of it to the bowl; toss gently to combine. Add more dressing, little by little, until the greens are dressed to your liking. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Arrange the salad mixture on a serving platter or plates.
  4. Sprinkle the hard-boiled eggs, avocado, blue cheese (if using), and reserved bacon over the salad. Pass the pepper mill at the table.
  5. Make-Ahead Instructions: The vinaigrette can be made 2 days ahead and refrigerated.
  6. Note: You can save yourself a step by purchasing packaged hard-boiled eggs at the grocery store (usually found near the fresh eggs). If you’d like to cook the eggs at home, use this proven method.

Nutrition Information

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  • Per serving (8 servings)
  • Calories: 425
  • Fat: 34 g
  • Saturated fat: 6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 15 g
  • Sugar: 3 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 15 g
  • Sodium: 614 mg
  • Cholesterol: 118 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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