Many restaurants have Cobb Salad on the menu, but an Atlanta, Georgia, restaurant gave it a delightful new twist. I ate Blackened Salmon Cobb Salad in 1996 while attending the Olympic games. It was so delicious I thought it deserved a gold medal. When I returned home, I had to duplicate it.
Believe it or not, Americans have been eating Cobb Salad since 1926, when, after a hard day’s night, Bob Cobb, owner of the Brown Derby in Los Angeles, became desperate for a midnight snack. Cobb raided his restaurant’s refrigerator and then whipped up a doozy of a salad using the day’s leftovers. Sid Grauman, of Grauman’s Chinese Theater, happened to be with Cobb when he concocted this late-night meal. Needless to say, Grauman loved the ‘left-over’ salad. He made it a point to stop by the Brown Derby the very next day for lunch and surprised the waiter by ordering “Cobb Salad.” From that day forward, the Cobb Salad became a popular menu item at the Brown Derby and is on many restaurant menus around the country.
Following is my version of Blackened Salmon Cobb Salad. If you want to make this recipe and don’t have all the ingredients, create your own version by using whatever leftovers you have on hand—that is, after all, what the Cobb salad is all about.
Blackened Salmon Cobb Salad Serves 6
For the dressing:
½ cup vegetable oil 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 2 tablespoons water 2 teaspoons lemon juice ½ teaspoon Worcestershire® sauce ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard 1 teaspoon minced garlic ¼ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon large grind black pepper In a food processor or blender, place vegetable and olive oils, red wine vinegar, water, lemon juice, Worcestershire® sauce, Dijon mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper and process until well blended. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Makes less than 1 cup. For the blackening and salmon: 4 teaspoons salt 6 teaspoons paprika 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper 1 ½ teaspoons white pepper 1 teaspoon large grind black pepper ¾ teaspoon ground thyme ¾ teaspoon ground oregano 6 individual salmon fillets, skin removed 8 tablespoons melted butter In a small bowl, combine salt, paprika, cayenne pepper, white pepper, black pepper, thyme, and oregano. Dip both sides of fish in the spice mixture and rub over salmon fillets to thoroughly coat. Heat a heavy skillet on high heat until extremely hot. Dip spice-covered fish in melted butter and place in the hot skillet. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes and then turn. Cook an additional 4 to 5 minutes on the second side, or until fish is thoroughly cooked. Remove fish from the skillet and set aside to cool to room temperature. For the salad: 3 heads green leaf lettuce, washed, dried, and torn into bite-size pieces 1 jar baby corn, drained 1 can (16-ounces) water-packed artichoke hearts, drained and quartered 24 pepperoncini 2 avocadoes, peeled and sliced 2 tomatoes, chopped 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
To assemble salad: cover 6 dinner plates with green leaf lettuce. Evenly divide baby corn, artichoke hearts, pepperoncini, and avocado slices on each dinner plate. Mound one blackened salmon fillet and one-sixth of tomatoes in the center of each plate. Sprinkle with feta cheese. Serve with the dressing on the side so it can be added according to individual preference. Storage tips: I prefer not to wash lettuce until I am ready to use it. Storing whole heads in plastic bags helps them retain their natural moisture and stay crisp. Do not store lettuce with apples or pears, as these fruits emit ethylene gas that turns lettuce brown. If your avocado is too hard, place it in a paper bag with an apple to speed the ripening process. Tomatoes as well ripen more quickly when placed in a paper bag.
Carol Ann Kates is the award-winning author of cookbook, Secret Recipes from the Corner Market and Insider Grocery Shopping Secrets. She’s an expert in how to shop, select, and store produce for maximizing home cooking outcomes and minimizing time and money spent. As a former supermarket and deli operator, Carol Ann shares grocery-insider wisdom—the same expertise you used to receive when patronizing a mom-and-pop establishment. Contact her at CarolAnn@CarolAnnKates.com and explore her website, www.CarolAnnKates.com.
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