It’s said that an exhausted restaurant owner in Los Angeles threw together leftovers to create the Cobb Salad. I’m not sure whether that’s true, but regardless of where it started the Cobb Salad is here to stay. While every chef has her own recipe, the most common ingredients include crisp lettuce, oven roasted chicken, fried bacon, roasted tomatoes, purple onions, avocados, hard-boiled eggs, and croutons.

Listing all of these ingredients is making my stomach growl, but also brings me to the purpose of my post: a Cobb Salad is the perfect example of what’s known as a compound salad. As I started cooking more often I started to hear two types of salads referenced: simple and compound.  The Cobb salad is just about as compound as it gets – lots of ingredients.  A simple salad is a one-ingredient salad – think just mixed greens and dressing.

After assembling this salad, I can see how easily it came about from leftovers in a restaurant kitchen.  I made almost all of the components prior to assembly (from bacon at breakfast to guacamole in the previous night’s dinner).  Roasting the tomatoes and making the dressing from scratch are time consuming, but critical for a memorable meal.  The tomatoes add the perfect amount of sweetness and the heartiness of the dressing stands up to the overwhelming amount of meat while making the salad tangy.

Classic Cobb Salad with Roasted Tomatoes and Buttermilk Dressing Adapted from Thomas Keller, Ad Hoc

You will need:
~ Bacon
~ Avocado
~ Red Onion
~ Red Lettuce
~ Croutons (I take left over bread and toast it in a pan with garlic oil)
~ Hardboiled Eggs
~ Roasted Chicken Breast

Oven-Roasted Tomatoes:
~ 6 plum tomatoes
~ ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
~ a few thyme sprigs
~ salt and pepper

Buttermilk Dressing:
Click here for instructions, but omit the blue cheese.  I cut the recipe in half because I was only feeding two of us, which was the perfect amount for 4 servings.

First, make the buttermilk dressing.  This is at its finest after settling for a few days.

Next, make the roasted tomatoes.  Preheat oven to 200 degrees.  Bring a medium pot of water to a boil.  With a small paring knife, remove each tomato’s core and cut/draw a “X” on the bottom (see picture).  Put the tomatoes into the boiling water and cook for a few minutes.  They are done when you can easily peal the skin off.  Transfer tomatoes to an ice bath and peel off the skin (see picture).

Cut tomatoes lengthwise and place cut side down on a baking sheet lined with foil.  Drizzle with oil and season with thyme, salt and pepper.  Put into the oven (medium rack) for 5 to 6 hours.   Tomatoes should shrink and have wrinkles when done.  After they have cooled on a baking sheet, transfer (with oil) to a storage container.  You can keep eating these guys all week long!

The rest is easy from here.  Mix as much or little of the remaining ingredients together and pour dressing over the salad.  Enjoy!