Recipe: Hillstone-Inspired Kale Salad
Contributor Lisa Fielding is a private chef and boutique caterer based in Manhattan who weekends in Litchfield County whenever possible. Many of her Manhattan clients are also Litchfield County weekenders, so work brings her to Northwest Connecticut as well. A Los Angeles transplant, Fielding was a former Hollywood film executive who segued into screenwriting several years ago, which enabled her to pursue her passion for food and entertaining. Lisa’s culinary skill set draws from a broad spectrum of dishes and ingredients.
I just returned from a week-long trip to Los Angeles for a series of meetings on my other job — that of a Hollywood screenwriter. It’s been a very good summer for my career: I sold a semi-autobiographical series based on my life as a Manhattan-based private chef entitled, “Totally Together and Completely Insecure” while setting up two of my best pieces of feature writing, a drama entitled “A Family History” and an adaptation of a British comedy entitled “Welcome to the Working Week.” All of this didn’t happen overnight. I’ve been assiduously devoted to writing since I walked away from my desk job and had to come up with a survival plan while I pursued this dream. Plan B, as I referred to it then, was reinventing myself as a private chef and all these years later I am so grateful for the culinary adventures that followed.
Meetings in LA usually include lots of wining and dining and this trip was no different. In addition to drinking copious glasses of rosé, I also fell in love with a kale salad from Hillstone, so much so in fact that I went to the restaurant twice and managed to cajole the recipe from my server. That’s a bit of an overstatement; I didn’t get the actual recipe as much as a list of ingredients, which I duplicated and made my own version for clients last weekend. It was sensational and so I happily share this extra yummy kale salad as inspired by Hillstone Restaurant at 2nd and Wilshire. There’s a hint of heat, loads of flavor and the chewy texture of kale meets the crunch of cashews. Enjoy.
8 cups fresh kale torn from the tough stems and chopped into dime-sized pieces, chilled. (Salad is much more flavorful served very cold.)
1 cup raw cashews roasted and salted
½ small red onion
1 bunch fresh mint
1 jalapeno, seeded and roughly cut
1 cup crumbled feta
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly cracked pepper
Emulsify ingredients, set aside.
In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Place cashews in pan, add salt and toss until evenly browned. In a food processor, pulse onion, mint and jalapeno until finely minced and well combined. In a salad bowl, toss kale with this mixture. Add dressing and gently massage kale. Add cashews and feta. Salt and pepper to taste. Form a nice mound to plate and serve.