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The Cobb salad is a truly American main dish salad

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By Norm Harding, Reporter

The Cobb salad is one of the earliest main dish salads to appear on restaurant menus and continues to be one of the most popular. Its origin is credited to Bob Cobb, owner of The Brown Derby, the famous eatery in Hollywood, Ca., in the early ’30s and ’40s.

As the story goes, Cobb was looking for something different to eat one night and while scavenging in his refrigerator, brought out some salad greens, cooked breast of chicken, an avocado, a few hard-boiled eggs, a tomato and some Roquefort cheese. Noticing a chef nearby cooking some bacon, he grabbed some of that, too.

He chopped up the greens in a bowl and then arranged each of the other ingredients side-by-side on top of them, before covering everything with a traditional French dressing. He shared his creation with his long-time friend Sid Grauman, of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. The next evening, his friend came back and asked for a “Cobb Salad.” The next day, it was put on the menu and “the rest is history.”

Variations of the recipe include substituting turkey for chicken and blue cheese for the Roquefort. Either way, you’re in for a real treat.

Cobb Salad

1/2 head iceberg lettuce

1/2 bunch watercress

1 small bunch curly endive

1/2 head romaine lettuce

2 Tbsps. minced chives

2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced

1 boneless chicken breast, cooked and diced

6 strips bacon, cooked crisp, broken up

1 avocado, peeled and diced

3 hard-boiled eggs; diced

1/2 cup crumbled Roquefort cheese

Special Dressing

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 tsp. sugar

1-1/2 tsps. lemon juice

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

3/4 tsp. dry mustard

1 clove garlic; minced

1/4 cup olive oil

3/4 cup vegetable oil

In a large wide mixing bowl/salad bowl, chop lettuce, watercress, endive and romaine in fine pieces. Add chives. Arrange tomatoes, chicken, bacon, avocado and eggs across top of greens. Sprinkle with cheese; chill.

To make dressing, combine water, vinegar, sugar, lemon juice, salt, pepper, Worcestershire, mustard, garlic and oils; chill. At serving, shake dressing well. Pour 1/2 cup dressing over salad and toss. Pass remaining dressing at table. Makes 6 servings

Santa Fe Steak Salad

1-1/2 tsp. chili powder

1-1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

5 Tbsps. olive oil

1 to 1-1/2 lbs. boneless sirloin or top round steak, 1-inch thick, trimmed of fat

1 medium red onion, chopped

1 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen corn, thawed

2 medium tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

3 Tbsps. fresh basil, chopped

2-3 pickled jalapeno peppers, stemmed, seeded and cut into strips

2 Tbsps. red wine vinegar

1 small head red leaf lettuce

In a small bowl, combine chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Rub one tablespoon of oil on the meat; then rub the spice mix into the meat. Allow to marinate while preparing the vegetables. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. In a medium skillet, saute the red onion in one tablespoon of oil for one minute; add the corn and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until just tender. Transfer to a bowl, add the tomatoes, basil and chilies and gently combine.

Roast the steak for 15-18 minutes for medium rare. Let stand for 10 minutes more, then slice into thin strips. Combine the pan juices from the steak with the remaining 3 tablespoons oil and vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste. Arrange the lettuce on 4 plates, dividing the corn mixture and steak, and drizzle the dressing over the salads.

South Seas Chicken and Bananas

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk

1/3 cup milk

1/2 cup flaked coconut

1/8 tsp. ground cardamom

6 very firm bananas, halved lengthwise

3 cups cornflake crumbs

5-6 lbs. chicken pieces

3/4 cup butter or margarine, melted, divided

Sliced kiwifruit and star fruit

In a food processor or blender, blend the lemon juice, condensed milk, milk, coconut and cardamom until smooth. Pour into a bowl. Dip bananas into milk mixture; roll in cornflakes and set aside. Dip chicken into remaining milk mixture; roll in the remaining cornflakes and place in two greased 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pans. Drizzle with 1/2 cup of the melted butter. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Remove from oven and arrange bananas over the chicken. Drizzle with remaining butter. Bake 15 minutes longer or until chicken juices run clear. Garnish with kiwi and star fruit. Makes 6-8 servings.

Cranberry Cherry Salad

1 can whole-berry cranberry sauce

1 (3 oz.) box black cherry Jell-O

1 (3 oz.) box cherry Jell-O

2-1/2 cups water

1 cup drained black cherries, finely chopped

1 cup drained, crushed pineapple (save juice)

1 cup chopped bananas

1 cup chopped walnuts

In a large pan, melt cranberry sauce and two boxes of Jell-O in water; cool slightly. Add the rest of ingredients. Pour into an 8 x 10-inch glass or ceramic dish. Chill to set.

Topping:

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup milk

2 Tbsps. flour

1/2 cup pineapple juice

2 Tbsps. butter

1 (3 oz.) pkg. cream cheese

1 small carton Cool Whip

Cook egg, milk, flour, pineapple juice and butter in a saucepan until thick; allow to cool. Add cream cheese; fold in Cool Whip. Spread on set Jell-O mixture. Chill in refrigerator until time to serve. Makes 4-6 servings.

7-Up Salad

2 pkg. (3 oz.) lime Jell-O

2 cups hot water

2 cups 7-up

2 cups miniature marshmallows

1 can drained, crushed pineapple (save juice)

Dissolve Jell-O per package directions. Add 7-up, drained pineapple and marshmallows. Chill.

Topping:

1/2 cup sugar

2 Tbsps. flour

1 cup pineapple juice

1 egg, slightly beaten

1 pkg. Dream Whip

Milk

In a large pan, mix sugar, flour, egg and juice. Bring to a boil over slow heat until thick; set aside. Make one package Dream Whip, according to package directions. Spread over Jell-O mixture. Makes 4-6 servings.

Norm Harding is a cooking columnist for the Beacon. To send him recipes, e-mail him at nharding@brunswickbeacon.com.