Thursday, March 5, 2009

Combat Fat Using Flavor

The trend of tapas and smaller dishes is growing exponetially, proving that you don't have to substitute portion size for a hearty and filling meal. As chefs across the world are able to pack more punch into tinier dishes, just a few bites of a particular plate can have you leaving the table satiated but not having to loosen your belt.

So instead of downing mountains of greasy meats and other piles of just-on-par foods, pack a lot of flavor into a smaller dish, reducing the portion and your gut. Here are a few of the concoctions some of America's top tiny-dish chefs are cooking up (recipes and ingredients included!), subbing flavor as the filler for the large portions most Americans have come to see as a "standard" size.


Spicy Garlic Shrimp
The chef: Seamus Mullen
The restaurant: Boqueria, New York City

1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp red-pepper flakes
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
16 oz shrimp, peeled and deveined
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp chopped parsley

In a small sauté pan, heat the oil until it starts to shimmer (just below smoking temperature); add the pepper flakes, and then the garlic. As the garlic begins to brown, season the shrimp with salt and pepper, then place the shrimp in the pan with the garlic, swirling the pan gently. Sauté over medium-high heat for 1 minute, then stir in the parsley. Sauté for another minute, remove from the heat, and serve. Makes 4 servings

Per serving: 249 calories, 23 grams (g) protein, 3 g carbohydrates, 16 g fat (2 g saturated), less than 1 g fiber

Mini Blue-Cheese Steaks on Salad
The chef: Chris Santos
The restaurant: The Stanton Social, New York City

1 lb hanger or skirt steak, cut into 4 equal portions
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp cooking oil

Salad
2 cups toasted, large, cubed pieces of baguette, crusts removed
1 bag mixed salad greens
2 pt cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup Cabrales or other soft blue cheese
1 red onion, sliced thin
1/4 bunch chives, chopped

Vinaigrette
2 Tbsp red-wine vinegar
1/2 Tbsp tomato paste
1/8-1/4 cup olive oil

Rub the steaks liberally with salt and coarse black pepper. Heat the cooking oil in an ovenproof sauté pan until it begins to smoke lightly. Add the steaks to the pan and cook for 1 minute. Turn the steaks, then place the pan in a preheated 500°F oven for 5 minutes. Remove the steaks from the pan and allow them to rest while you assemble the salad.

Toss the salad components with the vinaigrette (whisk the three ingredients) and divide among four plates. Slice the steaks thinly and place on top of the salad. Garnish with blue cheese. Makes 4 servings

Per serving: 488 calories, 38 g protein, 22 g carbohydrates, 28 g fat (10 g saturated), 5 g fiber


Vietnamese Chicken Skewers
The chef: Michael Bao Huynh
The restaurant: Mai House,New York City

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small red onion, minced
1 stalk lemongrass, inner leaves only, minced
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 jalapeño peppers, split, seeds removed
1 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 cup fish sauce
2 Tbsp sugar
Juice of 1 lime
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" cubes
Wooden skewers, soaked in cold water for 30 minutes

Combine the garlic, onion, lemongrass, ginger, peppers, cilantro, fish sauce, sugar, and lime in a saucepan. Slowly bring to a boil over medium heat, then take off the stove and cool. Toss the chicken into the marinade and let it marinate for 1 to 2 hours. Skewer the chicken cubes and grill them for 3 to 4 minutes a side, until they're firm and lightly charred. Makes 4 servings

Per serving: 112 calories, 16 g protein, 11 g carbohydrates, less than 1 g fat (less than 1 g saturated), less than 1 g fiber

Chickpeas with Chorizo
The chef: Ken Oringer
The restaurant: Toro, Boston

1/2 large onion
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 oz Serrano ham or prosciutto, chopped
4 oz ready-to-eat Spanish chorizo, sliced in 1/4" rounds
3 Tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup chopped frozen spinach
1 cup canned chickpeas
Salt and pepper to taste
2 hard-boiled eggs, quartered

Sauté the onion, garlic, and bay leaf in the olive oil over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the ham and chorizo, and cook for another 5 minutes. Then stir in the tomato paste and white wine and cook for 10 more minutes. Once the wine has evaporated, add the spinach and chickpeas and their liquid. Simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and turn off the heat. Remove the bay leaf. Serve with the eggs and a drizzle of olive oil. Makes 4 servings

Per serving: 438 calories, 20 g protein, 22 g carbohydrates, 29 g fat (7 g saturated), 5 g fiber


Braised Salmon with Soy and Ginger
The chef: Susanna Foo
The restaurant: Susanna Foo Chinese Cuisine, Philadelphia

16 oz salmon fillet
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp minced ginger
1/4 cup mirin*
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp vodka
1 Tbsp butter
2 scallions (white parts only), chopped
3-4 sprigs cilantro

* Mirin is a Japanese condiment that's available in the ethnic-food sections of most supermarkets.

Cut the salmon into 1" squares. Heat the olive oil in a 12" nonstick pan over medium-high heat and add the salmon cubes and ginger. Sear together for about 1 minute, then pour the mirin, soy sauce, and vodka over the salmon. Turn the heat to medium and cook for about 3 minutes, until the fish turns pale. Add the butter and turn off the heat. Spoon the salmon onto a serving plate and top with the scallion and cilantro. Makes 4 servings

Per serving: 359 calories, 24 g protein, 6 g carbohydrates, 22 g fat (5 g saturated), 1 g fiber


Complete the Meal:
Like every good meal, a small supplement may be added as an appetizer or starter. Here are a few ideas that are full of flavor but keep with the small-dish theme. Divided up by region.

Salads

Start with: 4 cups loosely packed mixed greens

American
Add:
1 ripe pear peeled and sliced
2 Tbsp crumbled blue cheese
2 Tbsp toasted walnuts

Toss with:
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil
Pinch of salt and pepper

Asian
Add:
1 orange peeled and sectioned
1 carrot grated
2 scallions chopped

Toss with:
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp peanut oil
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp minced ginger

Mediterranean
Add:
1/4 cup roasted red peppers
1/2 cup marinated artichoke hearts quartered
2 Tbsp toasted almonds

Toss with:
1 Tbsp red- or white-wine vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

Or if a plate of vegetable is more of your thing, go for this.

Vegetables

Start with: A 2-pound mix of any of the following vegetables, cut into similar-size pieces: asparagus, zucchini, carrot, onion, cherry tomato. Brown in a 400°F oven for 15 minutes.

American
Add:
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic roughly chopped
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)

Asian
Add:
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 Tbsp minced ginger
1 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp sesame seeds

Mediterranean
Add:
2 Tbsp pesto fresh or bottled (toss the vegetables in it before roasting)
Squeeze of lemon


Now that you're mouth is watering, go try one or all of these recipes for yourself!

Source: MensHealth

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