Healthy Cooking Tips From Fabio Viviani
Tips from a top chef
fan favorite and Life After Top Chef star Fabio Viviani took time out to share healthy and simple cooking tips with a group of lucky editors in New York City.
Here are our favorite tips for making simple, healthy food taste buonissimo!
Think you need to stick to the rules to be a good cook? Not true!
"Recipes are guidelines, not the law," says Fabio. "You can stretch them, bend them."
Fabio's tip: Swap out ingredients to end up with a healthier dish. If a recipe calls for butter, try heart-healthy olive oil instead. Or use a natural sweetener like honey as a substitute for refined sugar.
You don't need fancy ingredients for a dish to taste good, says Fabio.
So don't feel bad if you pass on wild Alaskan salmon or black truffle oil, even if the recipe calls for it.
Fabio's tip: If you want to splurge on your favorite brand, that's great. However, you can save cash and still eat healthy by selecting generic products, produce, meat, and more.
Don't waste a thing
There's no sense in letting perfectly good ingredients go to waste!
Fabio's tip: To stretch the life of an onion, use the root side last; it saves better. And if a tomato starts to look a little overripe, soak it in ice water overnight and it'll perk right up.
Fabio certainly adds some drama to a dish by swirling his arm about a foot above a sizzling skillet. But turns out it’s not just for show.
Fabio's tip: “You want to season from a good height to get an even spread,” he says. Otherwise, you’ll end up with some bites so heavily seasoned they’re inedible, and others that are just bland.
Want to cook like Fabio?
Try Fabio’s recipe for Sea Bass With Garden Caponata, which serves 2 (or 4 smaller tasting plates).
Health note: Antioxidant-rich olive oil can protect against heart disease by controlling LDL, or bad cholesterol, while raising HDL, or good cholesterol. Plus, fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids and lean protein.
What you’ll need
1 lb. sea bass, 2 cups red wine vinegar, 1 cup brown sugar, 2 cups pine nuts, 2 large eggplants (medium diced), 4 large carrots, diced, 4 stalks celery, diced, 2 large onions, diced, 6 cups pitted green olives (sliced), salt, pepper, tomato paste, olive oil
To make the caponata:
Warm olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add eggplant, carrots, celery, onion, and olives to skillet.Add vinegar and brown sugar and stir.Dilute 1 tablespoon tomato paste with about 2 tablespoons water, add to vegetable mixture, and stir.Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until carrots cook to desired crunchiness.Add pine nuts and remove from heat.
To make the sea bass:
Season fish skin-side down with salt and pepper. Cook on high heat for about 4 minutes. Flip, and season skin side. Cook for about 2 to 3 more minutes.
Serve fish over caponata and drizzle olive oil on top to finish.