Let’s face it – dining at the Walt Disney World Resort has become a significant part of the whole Disney vacation experience. With well over 100 restaurants to choose from, guests delight in the wonderful culinary options available to them. For me, I am a tremendous foodie – I not only love to eat around the world, but preparing and recreating recipes after I get home from my vacation is half of the fun.
Let’s explore The Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and one of its signature dishes – the Cobb Salad. This elegant and authentic replica of the world-famous Brown Derby in Los Angeles is a Tinseltown landmark steeped in glitz and glamour. The atmosphere, while a little more formal than some of Disney’s other venues, offers a warm and inviting decor rich in mahogany hues and walls adorned with caricatures of famous faces – a tradition that began with the original restaurant.
The upscale atmosphere summons you to the Golden Age of Hollywood and the menu brings timeless dishes to its guests as well as an extensive wine list that will tantalize the palate of wine enthusiasts. But that’s not the biggest draw to this wonderful establishment – the famous Cobb Salad is one of the Hollywood Brown Derby’s signature dishes that keeps guests coming back for more.
The Cobb Salad was originally created at the Brown Derby in Hollywood, Calif. and its origin is quite an accident. As the legend goes, late one night in 1937, restaurant owner, Robert H. Cobb and showman and theater mogul, Sid Grauman, prowled the restaurant’s kitchen for a midnight snack. Hastily chopped and arranged from leftovers they found within the huge refrigerator – a head of lettuce, watercress, avocado, tomatoes, cold breast of chicken, hard boiled eggs, cheese, crumbled bacon and some old-fashioned French dressing – the Cobb Salad was born.
The creation was so good that Grauman asked his friend to recreate the ‘Cobb Salad’ the next day which became a permanent staple on the menu of the famed Hollywood eatery. Cobb’s midnight invention became and overnight sensation with Derby regulars and the establishment has since sold more than 4 million Cobb salads.
Now, you don’t have to visit The Hollywood Brown Derby in Los Angeles or even Disney’s Hollywood Studios to get a taste of this world-famous salad. Thanks to the lovely Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer, and The Disney Chefs, you can create this delicious salad right in your own home.
Here’s what you will need:
- 1 cup chopped iceberg lettuce leaves, washed and spun dry
- 1 cup chopped chicory leaves (radicchio and curly endive are perfect), washed and spun dry
- 1 cup chopped sprigs of watercress, washed and spun dry, plus additional sprigs for garnish
- 1 pound poached chicken or turkey breast, finely chopped
- 2 medium-sized ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 avocado, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
- 1/2 cup crumbled blue or roquefurt cheese
- 6 strips of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
- 3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives
- 1/2 cup The Hollywood Brown Derby Old-Fashioned French Dressing (recipe to follow)
- Radicchio cups and watercress sprigs for serving
- Toss the iceberg, chicory, and watercress together and arrange in a shallow salad bowl.
- In straight and separate lines, arrange the turkey, tomatoes, avocado, blue cheese, bacon and eggs on top of the chopped greens
- Sprinkle chives in two diagonal lines across the salad.
- To serve, present the salad at the table, toss with the dressing and place in radicchio cups on chilled plates and garnish with watercress sprigs.
The Hollywood Brown Derby Old-Fashioned French Dressing
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon dry English mustard
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- In a small bowl, whisk together the water, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, Worchestershire sauce, salt, garlic, sugar, pepper and dry mustard until well blended.
- Whisking constantly, add the vegetable oil and olive oil in a steady stream until the dressing is emulsified.
- Store dressing covered and chilled until ready to serve. Whisk the dressing to blend just before serving.
Wine Pairing: New Zealand or California Sauvignon Blanc