Chef Chris Kulis recommends adding a little green to your table. “Your basic fresh herb salad—parsley, basil, tarragon, and chives—it can go on anything,” says the CIA-trained, Thomas Keller-tested chef. (That’s CIA as in Culinary Institute of America.)
When prepping for dinner at Il Teatro in Wailea, Chef Kulis personally harvests herbs from the restaurant’s garden. “I take the itty-bitty basil leaves and set them aside,” he says. “The smaller, more delicate leaves are best . . . not too big, because they become tough.”
He starts with a simple foundation of diced herbs, and tailors the mix for individual dishes, adding frisée, chervil and other sparks of flavor. “Nothing too pungent,” says Kulis. The zesty mixture enlivens nearly everything on the menu at Il Teatro, from the house-cured pancetta to the squab, raviolis, and crisp Tuscan potatoes. Tender celery leaves lend a clean flavor to the frutti di mare. Even dessert benefits from the treatment: rich panna cotta is sprinkled with flecks of basil and mint.
The chef’s last word? Before making your salad at home, “let the herbs soak in water for a bit, so they perk up.”