“Dish with Diane: Chef Inspired Healthy” with David Burke
Instead having you read the same intro over and over again…click HERE for the intro to my series:
“Dish with Diane: Chef Inspired Healthy”
David is a pioneer of modern American cooking! In the mid 1980’s he brought new techniques and new styles of food to the table at The River Café in NYC. He was one of the first chefs, if not THE first chef, to brand and trademark his own food. “I didn’t just put my name on a box of pasta; I invented what’s in the box”. Pastrami salmon and cheesecake pops are his signature creations. David has also taken dry aging to a new level with a technique that is proprietary to him and recognized as a better way to do it that produces a healthier and more flavorful end product. David Burke has been a trailblazer following and setting trends which have been integral in creating what we now call Modern American Cuisine.
David and I are friends and have cooked together both on television and live on stage and boy is he a blast to work and hang out with! In addition to being a great guy and amazing chef, David is very generous with sharing his wealth of culinary knowledge and how lucky am I to have HIS brain to pick?
We chatted about healthy cooking and eating…
Diane: Do you see a trend with diners seeking better-for-you options on the menu?
David: Yes, healthier but not boring! They are not looking for “plate fillers” like French fries; they are looking for exciting, sensible food using grains, fish and seasonal vegetables. Starch does not have to automatically be included on a plate, those days are over. Restaurant customers today are requesting kicked up versions of veggies and fruits in place of starch and chefs need to be ready for that. What I feel is very important is to have a wait staff that knows the menu inside-out and can steer customers who want healthier options in the right direction.
Diane: What’s your definition of “healthy eating”?
David: Sensible eating and balanced diet with not too much fat, bread, beef or sugar. There is nothing wrong with chocolate mousse you just don’t eat it every day. It’s important to educate yourself about what foods are good for you. Try picking 20 things you really like and make salads out of them…pears, cheese, walnuts, beef jerky, whatever – it’s a good way to get started. I am working right now to get myself healthier and have lost 20 pounds by reducing portions, carbohydrates and just being more conscious of what I eat because I want to get ready for the next 50 years of my life.
Diane: What is your secret to cooking healthier without sacrificing flavor?
David: The key is using quality ingredients. I use broths, herbs, spices, zests, juices, marinades and limited fats. Try cooking techniques that caramelize the natural sugar in foods like grilling and searing. This adds flavor without extra calories or fat. Poaching and steaming are healthy ways to cook but can produce a bland result so you need added ingredients like herbs, spices, coffee, tea, vegetable juices, chilies or vanilla to boost the flavor.
Diane: What is your favorite dish on your own menu?
David: My Pastrami Salmon. I love it because it’s versatile, convenient, tasty, smoky, rich, and spicy – I feel good eating it. I add it to egg whites, wrap it in lettuce leaves, toss with pasta or use as a garnish. It’s on the menu of all of my restaurants. Here’s the recipe:
David Burke’s Pastrami Salmon
1 side salmon, about 2 to 2 ½ lbs, skin and bones removed
1 cup coarse or kosher salt
½ cup sugar
2 bunches fresh coriander
1 bunch fresh Italian parsley
½ lb shallots, peeled
½ cup molasses
2 tbsp cayenne pepper
5 bay leaves
4 tbsp paprika
4 tbsp ground coriander seed
4 tbsp fresh ground black pepper
Potato pancakes (optional)
1. Place salmon on a platter. Combine salt and sugar. Mix well, and coat both sides of salmon with salt mixture.
2. Combine coriander, parsley, and shallots in a food processor and puree. Coat both sides of salmon with puree.
3. Refrigerate salmon for 2 to 3 days.
4. Scrape marinade from fish and discard. Dry fish with paper towels.
5. Combine molasses, cayenne pepper, and bay leaves in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 minute.
6. Sprinkle paprika, coriander, ground black pepper, and cracked pepper on both sides of fish. Refrigerate salmon overnight.
To serve: Cut pastrami salmon into thin slices on the bias, or diagonally, and serve with Mustard Oil, rye toast, and (if you wish) Potato Pancakes.
2 large baking potatoes, peeled
3 shallots, peeled
Coarse/kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
Clarified butter or olive oil for sautéing
1. Combine potatoes, shallots, and egg in a food processor and grate.
2. Spoon grated-potato mixture into a bowl and add salt and pepper. Heat clarified butter or olive oil in a large sauté pan, preferably with a nonstick surface.
3. Spoon 2 or more tablespoons of potato mixture into pan for each pancake. The thickness and diameter of the pancakes will depend on how they are to be used. Cook pancakes until golden brown, turning frequently.
Diane: How about an update on what’s new and exciting in your world?
David: I’ve been doing some fun things with Food Network that include Finale of Worst Cooks in America hosted at David Burke Kitchen and keep an eye out for a full episode of a Food Network show that was filmed at David Burke Fromagerie in Rumson, NJ. I also have an extensive line of cookware products, knives, cutting boards, etc. that are available at TJ Max. My David Burke Steak Sauce is available in all the restaurants and is a fantastic addition to any meal. We continue to open new restaurants and currently have 8 restaurants in 5 states. I have new cookbook in the works that I am very excited about. My 12 beverage – sparkling non-alcoholic drink is the newest product. Go to www.davidburke.com for more info
Click HERE to watch David and I whip up his tantalizing Tuna Tartare Tacos for GMA