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, and it's easy enough to make at home whenever a craving hits.
The dressing is called "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.
I've actually seen two versions of the "original" 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.
- Greens: You will need a combination of iceberg lettuce, chicory (also called curly endive) and watercress for this salad. I used my judgement and took the liberty of making some adjustments to the quantities between the 2 differing recipes based on my experience. The quantity of greens I have shared is a good balance between the greens and the toppings. It's also the perfect amount for the dressing.
- Tomatoes: 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.
- Turkey: While the original Brown Derby Cobb salad recipe calls for poached turkey breast, you can definitely replace it with chicken. Grilled or roasted chicken would be a lovely way to add some additional flavor and texture, as opposed to sticking with poached. You could also roast your turkey breast instead of poaching it.
- Blue Cheese: Use either crumbled blue cheese (sold crumbled perfect for salads) or purchase a wedge or block of blue cheese and crumble it yourself.
How to make it
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.
Present the salad at the table, toss with the dressing and serve.
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. For example, you can purchase a slab of roasted turkey from the deli counter instead of poaching your own turkey breast but it won't taste quite as good.
Other recipes you may like
- Curried Tomato Salad
- Armenian Grilled Vegetable Salad (Khorovats Salad)
- Ensaladilla Rusa (Spanish Potato Salad)
- Afternoon Tea Sandwiches (Cucumber, Egg and Cress, Smoked Salmon)
- The Hollywood Brown Derby's Famous Grapefruit Cake
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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 or grilled chicken breast instead.
- Adapted from Cooking with Mickey and the Disney Chefs
*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.*