The Brown Derby restaurant, which opened its doors in 1929, was as famous a part of Hollywood's golden age as Mann's Chinese Theater or Schwab's drugstore. It was a meeting place and hangout for such stars as Cecil B. DeMille, the Barrymores, and Rudolph Valentino, as well as many Hollywood hopefuls. According to legend, the Brown Derby made a lasting contribution to American cuisine when its manager, Bob Cobb, fixed a late-night meal from leftovers he found in the kitchen, including chicken, bacon, avocado, tomatoes, and hard-boiled eggs. He placed them on a bed of lettuce, drizzled them with dressing, and single-handedly invented the Cobb salad. Like the Caesar salad, the basic Cobb has inspired countless variations, including this delicious version.
- 3/4 pound thick-sliced bacon, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 medium garlic clove, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 small head romaine, (about 5 cups), washed, spun dry, and torn into bite-size pieces
- 1 medium bunch watercress, leaves and 1-inch stem, washed and spun dry
- 1 pound roasted turkey breast, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1/4 pound Maytag blue cheese, roughly crumbled
- 2 large hard-boiled eggs, thinly sliced
- 1 medium tomato, cut into 1/4-inch wedges
- 8 ounces cherry tomatoes, sliced
- 1 medium Hass avocado, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch wedges
- 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped tarragon
- 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped chervil
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley
In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp, about 15 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain.
In a small bowl, whisk together mustard, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and vinegar. In a slow, steady stream, whisk in oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Arrange romaine and watercress on a large serving platter. Arrange turkey, blue cheese, eggs, tomatoes, avocado, and bacon in sections on top of the greens. Sprinkle with chopped herbs. Pour dressing over salad. Serve immediately.