It all started when my husband and I went to a recently opened restaurant in town – Bricktown Brewery. It’s not a real brewery, at least not at this location, but we thought we’d give it a chance. We never have high expectations, because our small town doesn’t attract the kind of restaurants we prefer to frequent.
As usual, the menu consisted mostly of burgers, sandwiches, even pizza. And then there it was – Cobb salad – one of my favorites! It was served “tossed in a Brown Derby vinaigrette.”
Since I’d never heard of this, I asked for the vinaigrette served on the side. I wasn’t that impressed with it – not very flavorful, and vinegar-heavy. And I love vinegar!
This was a perfect opportunity for me to learn more about this vinaigrette, and to make it from scratch; I was sure it would be much better.
Turns out, The Brown Derby name is the name of the same old, well-known restaurant in Los Angeles, California, that “invented” the Cobb Salad! It closed in 1985.
I found many recipes that were surprisingly similar to the following, but all ingredient lists for the vinaigrette started with water. Equal parts water, balsamic or red wine vinegar, and olive oil. Here goes.
Brown Derby Vinaigrette
4 tablespoons water
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons olive oil
Place all of the ingredients in a jar and shake well. Alternatively, use a small blender jar.
I chose to use balsamic vinegar; I suggest omitting the sugar.
Cobb salads are a wonderful opportunity to create beauty on a plate, no matter if it’s a single bowl or a platter.
The salad consists of lettuce, chicken, avocados, tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, optional purple onions, and blue cheese. However, I prefer feta over blue.
The chicken can be grilled, baked, pan-fried… some people like fried chicken bits. Also fry some large bacon dice.
Begin with the lettuce and keep adding ingredients. For fun I used both yellow and red cherry tomatoes.
Shake the vinaigrette and add to a bowl for serving.
Turns out, this vinaigrette made from scratch is delicious. It’s nothing like I had in the restaurant.