On January 12th, I had the privilege to attend Macy’s Culinary Council in San Diego with Chef Nancy Silverton. I arrived at Macy’s Home Store in Mission Valley through the back entrance and overheard a few customers comment, “Did you see that line in the front?” “Wow, look at this crowd!” Sure enough, as I approached the Culinary Council kitchen, there was a line of guests who “didn’t quite make the cut” since it was a first-come, first-served event.
Chef Bernard Guillas from the Marine Room Restaurant introduced Chef Silverton and served as her sous chef for the afternoon. Silverton commented on how thrilled she was to see such a crowd, since attendance such as this was usually reserved for TV personalities on the Culinary Council. But I beg to differ—Chef Silverton is no spring chicken. She is co-owner of Osteria Mozza, Pizzeria Mozza, and Mozza2Go in Los Angeles, as well as Osteria Mozza and Pizzeria Mozza in Singapore. She is also well-known for pastries and breads from La Brea Bakery (if you’ve never had bread from there, you’re missing out). On top of that, she is author of several books, including The Mozza Cookbook and Nancy Silverton’s Breads from the La Brea Bakery. Oh, and BREAKING NEWS: She’s opening up a “Mozza” in San Diego this FALL! The restaurant will be located near Seaport Village.
Chef Silverton demonstrated several salad recipes from her restaurants which was great since I’m I’m salad-challenged. I enjoy eating my greens but I get stuck in a rut of “bagged salad” and some oil/vinegar concoction for a dressing. What’s great about Chef Silverton’s recipes is that all of them started with a lemon vinaigrette as a base.
- 1/4 c shallots, minced
- 5 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp champagne vinegar
- 1 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
One great tip that Chef Silverton mentioned (and I highly encourage, too) is to not use pre-ground pepper and iodized salt from a shaker. The flavor of freshly ground pepper has much more depth than it’s pre-ground counterpart. Kosher salt is recommended since most recipes are written for use with kosher salt. Keep the salt in a bowl and use your fingers to do the seasoning.
Two ways to ruin a salad:
I can’t tell you how disappointed I am with run-of the mill restaurant salad. I really hate my salads over-dressed. If there was one rule that people learned in this class, it would be to dress your salads properly.
All the salads featured unique seasonal greens that can be found at your local farmer’s market or specialty grocers.
First up: Tricolore Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette
What a beautiful salad! This salad had frisée, Belgian endive, radicchio, and arugula — very bold flavors. The mustard vinaigrette was a perfect pairing that held up to this salad. There was a complex flavor, not just “it tastes like mustard vinaigrette.” You tasted the peppery arugula contrasting with the light frisée, then the crunch of the endive and radicchio…I probably could eat this all day.
One thing I learned is to season the salad greens with salt and pepper before adding the dressing (who knew?!). Add the dressing a little at a time, massaging the dressing into the greens using your hand. It’s especially helpful for very textural salads such as this — it ensures that the dressing gets into the nooks and crannies of the leaves. We all got a kick out of watching to see if an event is coming to your town. The site also features great recipes from the chefs participating in the Culinary Council. Thank you, Macy’s for giving me the opportunity to learn something new (and taste some great food)!
Disclosure: The Everywhere Society contacted me on behalf of Macy’s Culinary Council to attend this event and offered compensation for my post. All opinions stated here are my own.