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:
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
KEFTEDES ME TRAHANA (tiny Greek meatballs) WITH YOGURT GARLIC APRICOT DIP.
Makes 115 meatballs
FOR THE 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
FOR THE DIP:
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
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
FOR THE SALAD:
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
FOR THE DRESSING:
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
STEAMED FISH WITH GINGER AND SCALLIONS
Serves 3 to 4
2 tablespoons gingerroot
1 whole striped bass (about 11⁄2 pounds), scales removed
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
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.