It’s very likely you know Camille Becerra’s name. If not her name, perhaps you know her Nolita restaurant, De Maria, with its painfully beautiful interior and equally as beautiful menu. I am certain that I am not alone in saying it is an all time favorite restaurant, and it only opened last year. Camille knows what she’s doing, and she’s a vibrant and necessary participant of the incredible food scene in New York and beyond. She shared a few words and the recipe to De Maria’s chicories and seaweeds salad that is, unsurprisingly, delicious, thoughtful, and highly nourishing.
Can you talk about the approach to the Chicories Salad? In flavor and nutrition…
The approach was to get a nice crisp green salad that was hyper-rich in vitamins without using kale. In an attempt to find an adequate substitution the combination of 3 seaweeds (hijiki, aonori, spirulina) and two of my favorite greens gives each cell of my body that same regenerating happy feeling.
What do you hope people leave De Maria with?
That they are inspired by a dish, a food combination, a style of eating that will translate into cooking for themselves and another.
What’s your favorite part of the food industry?
There are many things but I always go back to hospitality, I enjoy the social aspect of it. The many great people I get to meet on a daily basis, creating spaces for creatives.
What would your last meal be?
I joke and say my last meal will be a green juice because I want the earth to be my last taste. But really it’s fish with lime, any style, by the sea.
Chicories and Seaweeds Salad, Chef Camille Becerra
1 head of escarole, washed and torn into bite size pieces (approx 8 cups)
2 tablespoons hijiki, reconstituted in water
¾ c honey-miso dressing
1 bunch watercress, cut into 2 inch pieces, stems ok
½ cup toasted hazelnuts (we dress slightly in grapeseed oil, salt and a small bit of chili powder)
¼ cup seaweed gomasio
Generous dusting of Powder of Dreams
In a bowl dress escarole and hijiki with half of the miso dressing. Massage and plate into 4 bowls. Top with watercress, hazelnuts and ½ of an avocado sliced per salad. Drizzle each with remaining dressing. Sprinkle 1 tsp of green gomasio and a generous dusting of Power of Dreams, I like to tell my cooks the desired effect of the dust should look like a black out.
Yields ½ cup (work it into your pantry, sprinkle on rice, eggs, avocado salads, soups,etc)
½ cup toasted black sesame
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons aonori seaweed
Combine in a food processor and buzz till most of the sesame seeds are nicked, no whole sesame left behind. But careful not to resolve all to a powder.
¾ cup rice wine vinegar
¼ cup miso
3 tablespoon honey
1 ¾ cup grapeseed oil
In a bowl add rice wine vinegar and miso, whisk to break down miso till you achieve a smooth consistency. Whisk in honey till dissolved. Gradually whisk in oil.
Powder of Dreams:
(another primo pantry staple, avocado toast loves this)
¼ cup lemon juice powder
1/3 cup spirulina
½ cup nutritional yeast
Using a delicate hand mix all three together.