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CHEF DU JOUR

Tabuli Salad Is a Jewel in Loschl's Crown : Regal Meals Fit for the Theater Crowd

April 01, 1993|MIKE SPENCER | Mike Spencer is a member of The Times Orange County Edition staff.

Many cooks claim they concoct dishes fit for a king, but few can prove it.

Westin South Coast Plaza hotel executive chef Hans Loschl can.

As a chef at the prestigious Opera Kallaren restaurant in Stockholm, he regularly prepared meals for King Olaf and other members of the Swedish royal family.

"We handled all state dinners and smaller private parties for the king and the family," he said. "Opera Kallaren was officially designated as the royal restaurant, and our head chef even traveled with the king."

But the Austrian-born Loschl preferred a warmer climate, so he moved to western Canada, then to San Francisco and finally last October to the Westin, where he has been busy revamping the menu.

"Because of our location, we get a lot of business people at lunch and the before-theater crowd in the evening from the Performing Arts Center and South Coast Repertory," he said.

"We surveyed many of them and found that none wanted heavy meals; they all wanted something light so their work or their enjoyment of a performance wouldn't be affected."

So the Westin has gone heavy on the light side--stressing sandwiches, salads and soups. "But I still wanted elegance, because this is an elegant place," Loschl said, "so we came up with a number of unique dishes."

An example is the tabuli salad, a blend of cooked wheat, lettuce, shrimp and vegetables tossed with an Oriental dressing.

TABULI SALAD

1 cup whole wheat

1 cup assorted lettuce

24 small shrimp

1/2 cup green zucchini, cut in fine strips

1/2 cup carrots, cut in fine strips

1/2 cup jicama, cut in fine strips

1/4 cup sesame seeds

Bring 1 quart of water to boil, add wheat, reduce heat and simmer until soft (about 1 1/2 hours). Drain and set aside. Bring 1 quart of water to boil, add shrimp and cook 1 minute. Remove from heat and add ice to water to cool. Drain shrimp after cooled. In mixing bowl, combine all ingredients.

Oriental Dressing

1 clove garlic

1 ounce fresh ginger

2 sprigs fresh tarragon

1 tablespoon commercial plum sauce

1/2 cup soy sauce

1 egg

1/2 cup sesame oil

1 cup vegetable oil

Salt, sugar

Mince garlic and ginger. Dice tarragon and place on bottom of bowl with garlic and ginger. Add soy and plum sauces and egg. Mix well and slowly add oils, whisking until completely mixed. Add sugar, salt to taste and pour over salad.

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