It was sometime in the 1920s that Bob Cobb, owner of the Brown Derby in Hollywood, threw together bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, poached chicken, avocado and Roquefort cheese to create the salad that still bears his name today. And 80-odd years later, the Cobb is back—and so much more delicious—at The Tower Bar in the Sunset Tower Hotel, just down the road from the old Brown Derby site. Jeff Klein, who turned the iconic Sunset Tower into L.A.’s swankiest hotel, knows exactly how to refresh a classic. This version substitutes tender, briny lobster for chicken, adding a taste of the ocean to the mix. For those of us without southern California’s perennial fresh produce, the perfect time to make this dish is in the summer months, when lettuces, tomatoes and lobsters are all at their peak. At 8358 Sunset Blvd.; 323-654-7100; sunsettowerhotel.com.
The Lobster Cobb
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp chopped shallot
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Maine lobsters, 1 1/2 pounds each, steamed for 12 minutes and cooled in a bowl of ice water
3 heads butter lettuce, tough leaves removed, washed, dried and chopped
2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
1 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 avocados, halved, peeled and cut into chunks
8 oz applewood-smoked bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled
4 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
1. Make the dressing: In a medium bowl add the mustard, oregano, garlic, shallot, Worcestershire and vinegar and whisk until combined. Slowly drizzle in the grapeseed oil while whisking continuously until the vinaigrette emulsifies. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
2. Remove the lobsters from the water once they have completely cooled. Crack the shells and remove the meat and cut it into bite-sized pieces.
3. Place a quarter of the lettuce on each plate and arrange from left to right, in straight lines starting with the tomatoes, blue cheese, lobster meat, avocado, bacon and finally the sliced egg. Serve with a ramekin of the balsamic vinaigrette.