Love to cook? Read on for professional tips on building flavor without all the calories!

Think like a chef.

You’re sitting in a restaurant and your dinner entrée has just been delivered. Your plate is simple but beautiful. Why? Because back in the kitchen, the chef has bins of many different items to choose from for your plate. A little bit of this and a little bit of that are what provide color and taste and make that plate special – not to mention economical and the fact that if you eat several different little things, it’s more interesting than if you eat a lot of one thing (even if it’s good). With more variety, your plate looks full, but if you think about it, in restaurants, often there is not that much on it. It just looks like it. So never forget that you eat with your eyes first. Especially when you are in diet mode, you want to present a plate that looks loaded so you feel like you are eating a lot and filling up. Making a plate that looks inviting and has interest is also really simple at home. Just learn to use your leftovers wisely. 

Here’s a perfect example. Yesterday, I picked up a fresh trout filet for dinner. At the moment, my husband doesn’t want any starch, so I headed for the vegetable bin. I found one ripe tomato, one baby cucumber, four baked cipollini onions, one scallion, and one cooked corn on the cob. These are all things I could easily have thrown out, but didn’t. And that’s what you see in the photo – all sliced thinly and set on two plates in a matter of ten minutes. The fish? Split in two, dipped in a whisked egg, sprinkled with a couple of Tablespoons of Parmesan cheese and baked at 425º F just until it flaked – about 10 minutes in this case. Verdict? Easy. Colorful. Delicious. Filling. What more could anyone ask for? Ahhhh… One more thing. Something like 1/3 the price of the same meal in a restaurant and without any butter. Now that’s a winner.

Comments on: "Think like a chef." (3)

  1. Chef Lynn, I LOVE in restaurants when my fish has a nice crispy coat to it and it’s juicy and moist on the inside. I have only been able to attain this by accident when baking fish myself. Is the egg the secret to this? That technique is new to me. How do I get that yummy caramelized coat to my salmon? And if the egg is not for that, what is it for? Thanks!! ~Ashley

    • Yes, the egg helps the coating to crisp. You can also turn on the broiler at the end for a couple of minutes to help it crisp even more. Just make sure your fish is at least 6 inches from the heat so you don’t burn it.

  2. The egg provides a coating and helps the fish to crisp and seal so that it remains juicy inside. You can also accomplish this with a thin coating of olive oil. The secret is not to overcook it. You want to take it away from the heat the minute it flakes and you will get a feel for this over time. It can be in the oven as I have done it or in a hot pan on the stove. The mistake most people make is overcooking their fish and that’s when it gets so dried out.

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