World's fare

Bergen Health & Life asked four premier local chefs, each specializing in a different cuisine, to take us step-by-step through one of their favorite healthy recipes. Here’s what you need to give mealtime an international flavor:
Worlds Fare1

With an abundance of top-notch ethnic eateries mere minutes away, we Bergenites are used to satisfying our yen for the exotic whenever it strikes. Still, most of us are a bit more hesitant to whip up these dishes at home. But fear not: Bergen Health & Life asked four premier local chefs, each specializing in a different cuisine, to take us step-by-step through one of their favorite healthy recipes. Here’s what you need to give mealtime an international flavor:

Chef John Piliouras
Nisi Estiatorio, Engelwood

Makes 115 meatballs


1 cup milk
1 1 ⁄ 2 cup trahana or bulgur wheat
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus enough to sauté meatballs
1 medium white onion, chopped
2 medium zucchini, grated
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo chili or crushed red pepper
salt to taste (about 1 tablespoon)
pepper to taste (about 1 teaspoon)
1 1 ⁄ 2 pounds ground beef
1 1/4 pounds ground lamb
2 large or 3 medium eggs, lightly beaten
1 ⁄ 2 cup fresh mint, chopped
3/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 1 ⁄ 2 cups Kefalotyri cheese, grated (or substitute Parmesan)
1 ⁄ 2 to 3 ⁄ 4 cup dry bread crumbs, unseasoned


2 cups Greek yogurt
8 to 10 dried apricots, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped salt to taste

  • Bring milk to a boil and pour over trahana. Cover and let sit until liquid is absorbed, about 1 hour. Cool.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a sauté pan and sauté
  • onions until soft and clear, not brown. Add zucchini, then garlic and chili. Cook 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool.
  • Combine the ground meat in a stainless steel or glass bowl and add ingredients from previous steps. Add all other ingredients except bread crumbs. Mix well.
  • Fold in bread crumbs a little at a time, then roll the meat into little balls.
  • Heat sauté pan with enough oil to coat pan, then fry the meatballs until browned on all sides and cooked through.
  • For the dip: Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and chill for at least 1 hour. Serve with meatballs.

Chef Aldo Cascio
Aldo’s Italian Restaurant, Wyckoff

Serves 4

3 ⁄ 4 cup diced carrots
1 ⁄ 2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup cauliflower florets
3 teaspoons fresh garlic, chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
1 pound fresh fettuccini
1 ⁄ 2 cup Parmesan cheese

  • In a pot, bring lightly salted water to a boil.
  • Blanch the vegetables, cool and set aside.
  • In a frying pan, sauté garlic in olive oil until slightly golden and transparent.
  • Add cooked vegetables to pan and toss together. Add broth, season to taste. Set aside.
  • Cook pasta in well-salted, briskly boiling water for 12 to 14 minutes.
  • Drain pasta and toss with heated vegetable mixture. Add Parmesan cheese and mix well. Serve.

Chef Gaspard Caloz
Madeleine's Petit Paris, Northvale

Serves 2


1 duck breast
salt and pepper to taste
Mesclun or frisee salad
2 oranges, peeled and wedged
1 mango, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup dried cranberries


1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup hazelnut oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 shallot, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste

  • Combine all dressing ingredients and whisk together. Set aside.
  • Season the duck breast with salt and pepper.
  • Place the meat in a sauté pan and cook over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, then let it cool on the side for about 20 minutes.
  • Slice the meat in julienne, season with salt and pepper to taste, add 3 tablespoons dressing and mix well in a bowl.
  • Arrange salad on a plate, top with duck breast, garnish with fruits and nuts.

Chef Tina Wong
Tina Louise, Carlstadt

Serves 3 to 4

2 tablespoons gingerroot
1 whole striped bass (about 11⁄2 pounds), scales removed
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 scallion
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons cooking sherry

  • Fill a wok or large pan with 2 inches of water. Place a steamer into the pan and allow the water to come to a boil.
  • Peel the ginger and slice it into thin sticks.
  • Season the fish with 1 teaspoon salt and 1⁄2 teaspoon white pepper. Put the ginger on top of the fish.
  • Once the water comes to a boil, place the fish into the steamer and cover with the lid of the pan. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the whole fish is cooked through.
  • Cut the scallion into 2-inch pieces, then cut each piece into thin strips.
  • Pour the vegetable oil into another pan on high heat.
  • Place the scallions, 1⁄2 teaspoon white pepper, 1 teaspoon
  • salt, soy sauce and cooking sherry into the pan. Cook for 1 minute.
  • Take the fish out, put it on a large plate, then pour the sauce over the fish.
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