How you doin’? As we continue to hear reports from various officials, it appears that there are now plans to restart the American economy… sooner, rather than later. That’s great news! It couldn’t come fast enough, though we must be cautious. Many of us foodservice professionals know the severe toll this quarantine has taken on our restaurants and bars, owners and employees. The conservative estimate is that nearly 23% of Los Angeles’ restaurants will never reopen. That’s quite a hit for an already risky, low-margin business. Quite frankly, I know many restaurant owners and it breaks my heart to take their calls during the day and hear how much trouble they are in.
I know the emphasis for this recipe blog has been on comfort foods, but as we begin to go back to work, we’d better start thinking about fitting back into our work clothes (assuming that sweat pants doesn’t qualify for ‘business casual’. So, it’s back to salads, low calories meals and maybe even (re)starting a diet. One of my all-time favorite salads is the Cobb—I can eat one every day and never get bored. You might ask yourself, what’s the origin of this now most popular salad? Well, the story goes like this…
The Brown Derby-Beverly Hills was actually Perspectives’ first client. Sally Cobb, Bob Cobb’s widow, was trying to keep the Derby afloat at a time when the entire restaurant scene in Los Angeles was changing. I used to love the Brown Derby Cobb Salad and it is best to start with the classics, so here's the recipe along with the Hollywood folklore of how it was invented as told to me by Sally Cobb.
One night in 1925, Herbert K. Somborn was chatting with Abe Frank, the manager of the Los Angeles Ambassador Hotel, and Sid Grauman of Chinese Theater fame; and as idle chatter goes remarked, "You could open a restaurant in an alley and call it anything or you could even build it in the shape of a hat and if the food and service are good the patrons will come flocking." To achieve the standards set for this little Derby, Somborn, the husband of the celebrated cinema star, Gloria Swanson, selected a young friend who had been raised in the restaurant business. This was Robert H. Cobb, a combination food checker, steward, buyer, cashier and occasional cook when the Brown Derby opened.
During its first four years, the original Little Hat Derby restaurant added only two items to its menu—a salad and a cake. The salad was almost an accident. Bob Cobb, growing weary of the steady hot-dog-hamburger diet, found an avocado in the icebox. He chopped it up, along with some lettuce, celery and tomatoes, plus a strip of bacon and some salad dressing, and had that for his dinner. Several days later he tried it again, adding other ingredients that he had purchased on his way to work: breast of turkey (some people claim it was chicken, but it was originally turkey), chives, hard-boiled egg, watercress, and a wedge of Roquefort cheese for the dressing. And that's how the Cobb Salad was born.
Everything was finely chopped and that was very laborious, so Mr. Cobb went to an engineer who was able to invent a horizontal chopper. That device was later reproduced by Hobart Corp. and named the Buffalo Chopper. So, get ready to chop the following as originally written:
Prep Time: 15-20 Minutes
Yield: 4-6 servings
1/2 head of chilled iceberg lettuce
1/2 bunch chilled watercress
1 small bunch chilled chicory
1/2 head chilled romaine
2 medium-sized tomatoes, peeled
2 breasts of roasted chicken or turkey (depending on what story you believe and the whims of the chef)
6 strips crisp bacon
3 hard-cooked eggs
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1/2 cup grated imported Roquefort cheese (blue cheese works as well)
Plus, 1 cup Brown Derby Old-Fashioned French Dressing (see recipe below)
Brown Derby Old-Fashioned French Dressing
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Yield: 4-6 servings
This is the French Dressing which became so popular among the Hollywood stars. The cup of water is optional, depending upon the degree of oiliness desired in this dressing.
1 cup water
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2-1/2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 tablespoon English mustard
1 head garlic, chopped (about 1-ounce)
1 cup olive oil
3 cups salad oil (lite vegetable oil)
The story continues… some people could not get enough of the Roquefort cheese. Remember, this was the roaring ‘20’s and many people had never tasted anything like this, so they either loved it or hated it.
One day Gloria Swanson heard that someone didn’t want their blue-veined cheese. “What a waste,” she declared. Not wanting to waste anything, she had the waiter blended the cheese into her salad dressing before it was poured over her Cobb Salad. From that day forward there were two choices of dressing for Bob and Sally’s favorite salad.
And now you know the whole story.
#Salad #CobbSalad #BrownDerby #Brunch #Lunch #PerspectivesTheConsultingGroup #QuarantineKitchen #Covid19
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