It’s been sweltering in New York City and today, rain. I am California dreaming! It seems like the mercury hasn’t dipped below 90F in an eon and not only am I craving a crisp SoCal summer, but I’m also craving a refreshing dish I sampled during my last trip to the west coast. While there, I was lucky enough to try out the recently opened Culina, a truly divine culinary experience at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. While the restaurant offers delicious handmade pastas and indulgent desserts, it also offers delectable healthy bites that tantalize the palate, while keeping L.A. physiques svelte. Here, chef Victor Casanova shares his recipe for a beautiful salad, which really allows seasonal ingredients to shine.
Culina’s Panzanella Recipe
•Rustic country loaf, exterior removed then cut into 1/2 inch dice
•3 heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch dice
•2 cups fresh ripe watermelon, cut into 1/2 inch dice
•1/2 red onion, julienne
•1/2 bunch basil, torn into 1/2 inch pieces
•1/2 english cucumber, cut into 1/2 inch half-moons
•4 oz. ricotta salata, coarsley grated
•4 vine-ripened tomatoes, passed through a food mill
•4 oz. DaVero Champagne Vinegar
•3 oz. DaVero Extra Virgin Olive Oil “Dry Creek Estate”
•Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Toast bread in pre-heated oven at 375 degrees until well colored but
2. Reserve bread.
3. Take the four vine-ripened tomatoes and pass through a food mill then combine in mixing bowl with vinegar and oil.
4. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. Reserve vinaigrette.
6. In a large salad bowl combine all ingredients and toss well.
7. Season to taste.
8. Divide into four small salad bowls.