Monday, October 19, 2009

Pizza...on the Cobb

My husband loves Cobb salad. He orders it everywhere we ever go. Does he do this so he can experience the joy of eating something he loves?


He does it so he can complain about it. If I have heard "This isn't a real Cobb salad" once, I have heard it ten million times. I cringe when I see Cobb on a menu. I know exactly where my day is headed from there.

He has issues with the ingredients. People like to change things up, after all, and if you change something that SHOULD be on a Cobb, he feels you are honor-bound to call it something else. No avocado? Pack it up and go home. No blue cheese? How can you even serve that to people?

And making huge changes? Illegal. Possibly a federal thing. There was an instance with a Mexican Cobb once... I felt really bad for the waiter.

And so, I was naturally reluctant to subject myself, and my Cobb pizza, to this kind of scrutiny. It required planning and research. Did I hit all the high points? Were all the components present?

The great thing is, pizza is a perfect canvas for a Cobb. As a composed salad, one that depends as much on arrangement as it does on ingredients, a pizza crust offers possibly the only way to easily and neatly serve a Cobb salad to a group. And the chewy bread is a great foil for the mix of creamy and crisp textures in the mix of traditional toppings.

Are there things that some people won't want? I admit, I'm not a fan of blue cheese. Or avocado. But there's just something about the artistic presentation of a Cobb that makes it seem wrong to pull out the stuff you don't like. So you give it a try. And everything harmonizes so well, you go for another bite. And another. And before you know it, you've eaten the whole thing.

"But that's not really a Cobb."


Cobb Salad Pizza

1 pre-baked pizza crust
Olive oil
1 avocado, sliced thin
1 large tomato, sliced thin
4 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
1 c. shredded lettuce
½ pound cooked chicken, diced
½ c. crumbled bacon
½ c. shredded cheddar
½ c. blue cheese or ranch dressing

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place crust on baking sheet. Brush or spray with olive oil. (A little garlic at this point isn't bad either.) Bake 15-20 minutes. Cool.

Alternating avocado and tomato, layer the two in a circular pattern over crust. Top with a layer of sliced egg, then lettuce. Scatter with chicken, bacon and cheese. Drizzle with dressing. Slice and serve.

Sidebar box: Recipe roulette – You never know what you might find in your kitchen in the dark of night. Famed Hollywood restaurant owner Bob Cobb found gold in his refrigerator in 1937, when a late-night scavenger hunt yielded a bowl of vegetables, eggs, cheese and cold chicken that quickly became known as the Cobb salad. According to the Brown Derby Restaurant Group, the offspring of Cobb’s eatery, since that time, more than four million of the salads have been made at Brown Derby restaurants alone.

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