Although a Cobb salad can truly be made with whatever tickles your fancy (I really don't believe in too many rules regarding food), there are several key ingredients that are usually found in traditional Cobb salad. Avocado and Roquefort cheese are two of those items. I usually omit them since a couple of my kiddos don't care for either of those ingredients.
My main purpose for writing this post was not to necessarily provide you with a recipe or exact ingredient list for Cobb salad that must be followed verbatim, but rather I was looking to inspire you to get creative when presenting a salad - whether it be simply for your family table on a weeknight or to wow special guests at a party. Arranging your salad this way and utilizing whatever fresh, healthful ingredients are available in your area (or garden) can really elevate the sometimes-mundane tossed salad from drab to fab!
More simply put ... I want you to BE INSPIRED about salad ... and know that it's okay to serve this as your complete lunch or dinner once in a while. We get so caught up in the whole meat-and-potatoes thing. At our house, we actually enjoy "loaded" salads as a full meal - especially in the warm summer months - often along with a little crusty bread. With lots of protein, veggies and dairy included in this salad, it really can be a satisfying and complete meal.
From my experience and research, a Cobb salad is usually dressed with some sort of red wine vinaigrette or a French dressing. Serve it up with whatever dressing you like (store-bought or homemade). (I've provided the traditional red wine dressing recipe at the bottom of this post should you care to follow it.)
2 heads romaine, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces (iceberg or mixed green can be used)
3 - 4 chives, snipped
1 chicken breast, roasted, cooled and cut into small cubes
5 - 6 strips crisp bacon, cooled slightly and chopped
1 cup shredded cheese of your choice
3 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and chopped
Handful cherry or grape tomatoes, chopped
5 - 6 red radishes, trimmed and sliced thin
1/4 large red onion, sliced thin
1/2 large cucumber, cut into chunks
Lay down the lettuce in an even layer in a large bowl or on a serving platter. Sprinkle the chives over the lettuce.
Arrange the remaining ingredients in rows across the bed of lettuce.
Serve with dressing of your choice or the Original Cobb Salad Dressing (recipe provided below).
Original Cobb Salad Dressing (Courtesy of Epicurean)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. dry English mustard
1 small clove garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup full-flavored olive oil
3/4 cup salad oil
Blend all ingredients together, except oils. Slowly add olive and salad oils. Mix well. Blend well again before mixing with salad.