A Modern Cobb
Recipe by Emma Moore
As the legend goes, the Cobb salad was invented in 1937 by Robert Howard Cobb, owner of the Hollywood Brown Derby restaurant. Cobb, who was looking for a late night snack, foraged through the restaurant's refrigerator and finely chopped the ingredients he found - lettuce, chicken, avocado, tomato, bacon - tossing them together in a French dressing. The salad caught on and soon Hollywood moguls including Jack Warner couldn't get enough. Restaurants across North America began featuring Cobb salads, cementing what is now a classic American dish. At the core of Cobb's intentions: take what's fresh and at hand, and make it your own. Emma Moore of Emma's Eatery Catering presents her spin on the classic Cobb, using as many local, fresh ingredients as she can.
8 slices good-quality bacon (optional)
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 cup good-quality olive oil (divided)
1 tsp kosher salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
1 bunch local asparagus
1 cup aged cheddar cheese, shaved
Meat from 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
2 corn on the cob
⅓ cup cider or sherry vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp granary mustard
1 tsp good-quality maple syrup
1 cup basil leaves, chopped
2 garlic scapes
1 shallot, diced
1 head of romaine lettuce leaves, washed
2 cups arugula
½ head Boston or butter lettuce leaves
6 radishes, halved (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake bacon for 15-20 minutes, until crispy. Remove from oven and drain on a paper towel.
Cut cherry tomatoes in half. Toss with ¼ cup of olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake in oven cut side up for 25 minutes until wilted and roasted. This is great to do at the same time as the bacon on a different sheet tray.
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Gently add in eggs and cook for 6½ minutes. Immediately following the cook time place eggs into a 2½-minute ice water bath to chill. Peel and set to the side. The yolks will be nice and jammy. Slice in half and season with salt.
Trim the asparagus spears. In the same pot of boiling water blanch the asparagus for 3 minutes until tender but still crisp. Shock in ice cold water to preserve the fresh green colour.
Shave the cheddar cheese.
Slice avocado into thin strips.
Shred the white and dark meat from the chicken. Include the skin if you would like.
Shave corn from the cob. I like to leave it raw for a nice crunch.
In a bowl or a blender, whisk together ¾ cup olive oil, sherry or cider vinegar, mustards, maple syrup, chopped basil, chopped garlic scapes, diced shallot, salt and pepper.
Arrange lettuces on a big serving platter. Cluster each topping in sections to create a beautiful composition. Bring to the table, drizzle with dressing and toss in front of guests before serving.
Tip: Serve it with a crusty baguette and a cold bottle of rosé or tall pitcher of lemonade.