A classic and perennial favorite, The Hollywood Brown Derby Cobb Salad is the original chopped salad. Once served to Hollywood's elite, it's accessible to everyone now at Walt Disney World. It's also easy to make on your own with this recipe!
Cobb salad is hands down my favorite salad. It was invented in 1937 at The Hollywood Brown Derby by its owner Bob Cobb and theater magnate Sid Grauman to satisfy a late-night urge for a snack.
There are slight variations of this salad. Some use chicken versus turkey, or present the greens differently. The Hollywood Brown Derby way is to finely chop all the ingredients, likely making this the original chopped salad.
The Hollywood Brown Derby Cobb Salad is available at The Hollywood Brown Derby at Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World. I've eaten there in the past, and thoroughly enjoyed the salad! It really is a classic.
How to make it!
I actually have two versions of the recipe. One is in the Cooking with Mickey and the Disney Chefs cookbook. The other is on a recipe card from The Hollywood Brown Derby restaurant at Disney's Hollywood Studios. They are nearly identical except for the quantities and selection of greens.
The book version calls for 1 cup each of chopped iceberg lettuce, chicory, and watercress. The recipe card calls for ½ head iceberg lettuce, ½ bunch watercress, 1 small bunch chicory, and ½ head romaine lettuce.
I used my judgement and took the liberty of making some adjustments to the quantities based on my experience. I definitely feel that 1 cup of each is not enough for the large quantity of toppings. Meanwhile, 2 half-heads of lettuce, a bunch of chicory and ½ a bunch of watercress is way too much.
In addition to the plethora of greens, this salad requires a handful of other ingredients. It can be time consuming to prep everything, but it makes all the difference to get it right.
You'll need crumbled blue cheese, peeled, seeded, and chopped tomatoes, chopped hard-boiled eggs, the homemade dressing, minced chives, chopped avocado, chopped turkey (could also try chicken here), and crumbled bacon.
The quantity of greens I used felt like a good balance between the greens and the toppings. It was also the perfect amount for the ⅔ cup dressing. The original recipe also calls for 1 pound of turkey, which is a lot! I use ½ a pound, and think any more would overwhelm the other ingredients My adjustments are below.
Although it's not specified in the original recipe, I'd aim to chop everything into about ¼-inch pieces, from the greens to the toppings. Some shortcuts are fine. You can purchase a slab of roasted turkey from the deli counter instead of poaching your own turkey breast.
You'll want to peel and seed your tomatoes otherwise you will have watery tomatoes. Trust me having the skins off makes a huge difference in elevating this salad.
The dressing is classified as "French dressing," but really it's a simple vinaigrette. Maybe that's why they call it French. Although it's nothing like the gloppy orange-hued French dressing sold in bottles. This salad is much classier. After all, it was eaten by Hollywood's finest for decades, and is still enjoyed today.
Other recipes you may like
- Lola Rosa Salad (with Grilled Chicken, Roasted Beets, Goat Cheese, and more)
- Curried Tomato Salad
- Armenian Grilled Vegetable Salad
- The Hollywood Brown Derby's Famous Grapefruit Cake
Have you ever tried Cobb salad? It's not always served as super chopped as this one, but I absolutely love this original recipe! Don't forget to leave me a comment if you've tried this, and please rate the recipe as well. Thanks!
The Hollywood Brown Derby Cobb Salad
- 3 cups chopped iceberg lettuce about ½ a head or slightly less
- 2 cups chopped chicory also called curly endive
- ¾ cup chopped watercress
- 8 ounces poached turkey breast finely chopped
- 2 medium ripe tomatoes peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
- 1 avocado peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
- ½ cup (about 2 ½ ounces) crumbled blue cheese
- 6 strips bacon cooked crisp, drained, and crumbled
- 3 hard-boiled eggs peeled and finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons snipped fresh chives
The Hollywood Brown Derby Old-Fashioned French Dressing:
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
- ½ teaspoon minced or crushed garlic
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon dry mustard (mustard powder)
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Toss the iceberg lettuce, chicory, and watercress together and arrange in a large salad bowl. In straight and separate lines, arrange the turkey, tomatoes, avocado, blue cheese, bacon, and eggs on top of the greens. Sprinkle the chives in a diagonal line across the salad.
- To make the dressing, in a small bowl whisk together the water, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, salt, garlic, sugar, pepper, and dry mustard until combined. Whisking constantly, add the vegetable oil and the olive oil in a slow steady stream until the dressing is emulsified. Store covered and chilled until ready to serve. Whisk the dressing to blend just before serving. Makes ⅔ cup dressing.
- Present the salad at the table, toss with the dressing and serve.
- Aim to chop everything into about ¼-inch pieces, from the greens to the toppings.
- For a shortcut: use a slab of store-bought roasted turkey from the deli counter. You can also try making the salad with roasted chicken breast instead.
*All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.*