Cobb salad is an amazing dish. More than a salad, it's a perfect meal packed with protein and flavor. It has meat and cheese and vegetables dressed in a tangy vinaigrette. I love a good Cobb salad, but it's really hard to get a decent one out. Either the ingredients are wrong or it's just a pile of dried up stuff on a plate with dressing on the side.
The ingredients in a Cobb salad are easy to remember. Take romaine or iceberg lettuce and then EAT COBB. Eggs, Avocado, Tomatoes, Chicken, Olives & Onions, Bacon & Blue cheese.
The eggs are hard cooked, the chicken is either boiled or grilled and then diced and the onions are scallions or chives. You'll want to use mission olives and not a sharp briny olive like Kalamatas. Each of these items needs to be diced into similarly sized pieces. You will also want to chop up the lettuce into bite-sized pieces.
Now let's make the vinaigrette. The ingredients here are 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 tsp. Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 1tsp. lemon juice, 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 tsp sugar, tsp salt, sprinkle pepper and a minced clove of garlic.
In a small jar combine everything but the oil and give it a good shake (if you don't have a jar, you can whisk in a bowl). Leave out the oil because you want the sugar and salt to dissolve and the won't do that in oil. Once it's all combined, add the oil and give it another good shake. Taste and adjust salt, sugar and pepper to taste. It's a good idea to save old relish or pickle jars just for making things like dressing.
You'll want a nice large platter for assembling this salad. You'll also want a bowl, because we are going to toss everything in a light coat of dressing before serving. Start with the lettuce. This is a composed salad, not just a bunch of lettuce with stuff on top, so the lettuce should not be too much more prominent that the other ingredients. Just enough to cover the plate.
Toss it very lightly in about a tablespoon of the dressing and arrange it to cover the platter.
Then toss each of the ingredients separately in just a little dressing before adding to the platter. This includes the chicken.
Do the same for the tomatoes, avocados, olives and scallions. The bacon, blue cheese and eggs can skip it. But I would salt and pepper the eggs after they are chopped. Dressing ingredients separately when assembling a salad is the key to an awesome salad. You will also use a lot less dressing,
Then start arranging the ingredients in strips on top of the lettuce.
It doesn't take a lot of artistic effort, but it sure looks nice when it's done.