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Recipe: Beverly Hills chef makes salad worthy of the stars

BY CINDY PEARLMAN
Big Picture News Inc.

You are what you eat — especially when you’re young, rich and wrinkle free in La La Land.

At the ultra glamorous Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, the rich and famous eat to stay slim but also to help improve their skin and have that star glow, especially during awards season.

One of the favorite dishes is called the Young Hollywood Salad and mixes sweet strawberries and blueberries with tart tomatoes. Add a shake or two of virtually calorie-free dressing and you can say, “I’m ready for my close-up!”

Four Seasons executive chef Ashley James, who has worked in France, England, Germany, Spain, Singapore and Argentina, created the main course or side dish for those who want to eat clean and tasty at the same time.

James says, “We like to create food that people love to eat, and in Hollywood stars love when their food contains antioxidants. That’s why this salad includes strawberries, blueberries, tomatoes, avocado and cucumbers over organic mesclin greens. All the ingredients are from California. We top it with a red wine vinaigrette and even add some fun hemp seeds on top, which you can find at the health store.”

Those seeds, which are optional, are packed with amino acids and add a bit of crunch.

Chef James promises you can bring a little Hollywood home. “This is an extremely easy salad for people to make at home,” he promises.

Visit your local farmer’s market if possible to find the freshest ingredients. “Buy what is in season — especially the tomatoes,” James advises. “Buy the best available depending on the time of year.” If the big tomatoes aren’t looking so hot, he advises to look at the cherry heirlooms.

SERVING OPTIONS:

• If offering the recipe as a main dish, serve it so you can see it. “You want a glass bowl to see all the beautiful colors of the fruit,” he says. “If you’re serving individual portions use white china bowls.”

• A delicious addition would be a little bit of cheese. “There is a lot of sweetness with blueberries and strawberries. So, I’d recommend fresh goat cheese. Blue cheese would also work. You want some sharpness to work with the sweetness.”

• You could also add some protein. “This salad would work well with roasted, chopped, grilled chicken. Don’t use fish. That flavor would be too bold,” he says.

• “Serve it with a warm, multi-grain bread,” he says.

Ingredients for 4 people:

4 cups organic mesclin greens
1/2 cup fresh Californian blueberries
1/2 cup fresh Oxnard strawberry slices
1/2 cup diced ¼ inch cucumber
1/2 cup diced ¼ inch heirloom tomatoes
1/2 cup diced avocado
¼ cup hemp seeds

Vinaigrette ingredients for 4 people:

4 tablespoons Napa red wine vinegar
¼ cup Californian olive oil
1 finely chopped shallot
Salt and pepper

Assembly:

Place the chopped shallots, salt, pepper and vinegar in a bowl and whisk in the olive oil to create a light emulsion.

Place all the salad ingredients in a bowl except for the hemp seeds, season with salt and pepper. Add the vinaigrette to your taste.

Lightly toss all the ingredients together.

Place the dressed salad in a serving bowl, sprinkle with hemp seeds.