Seasonal Chef: Go Lean, Clean And Green For 2020 - 27 East

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Seasonal Chef: Go Lean, Clean And Green For 2020

Number of images 2 Photos
Beet tartare.

Beet tartare.

Shrimp with spinach, mushrooms, petit pois and edamame in lemongrass broth.

Shrimp with spinach, mushrooms, petit pois and edamame in lemongrass broth. JANEEN SARLIN


Seasonal Chef

  • Publication: Food & Drink
  • Published on: Jan 20, 2020
  • Columnist: Janeen Sarlin

In January I choose to eat what I call “lean, clean and green” food … it’s my definition of lighter fare. It’s a change-up from the rich and traditional, albeit delicious, party foods I consumed during the holidays.

Here are ideas and recipes that reflect lean, clean, and green (well …mostly green) fare.

I swap out bread with romaine leaves for a sandwich and fill the lettuce with tuna salad or sliced turkey breast along with a crunchy apple or red pear for lunch. As a snack, I keep celery sticks in the refrigerator. When I feel I need a little extra pick-me-up, I smear crunch peanut butter in the center of the stalks. Sometimes I even top the peanut butter with raisins, just like I made as an after-school snack for my kids.

Shrimp, peas, edamame, and fresh spinach are served in a tea broth. The base is light, healthy anti-oxidant green tea flavored with lemon grass and ginger. It’s beautiful, stress reducing, and refreshing.

The rich red color of roasted beets enhances a plant-based rendition of beef tartare. Use endive spears or small toasts to serve it as an hors d’oeuvre. For a first course or a side dish, spoon beet tartare on a bed of baby spinach or hearts of romaine. It works well with most main courses.

Bon lean, clean, and green appetit!

Shrimp, Petit Pois, Edamame & Spinach with Lemon Grass Broth

(Serves 2)

3 1/2 cups water, boiling

4 lemon grass scented green tea bags

2 stalks lemon grass, outer shell peeled and discarded, finely chopped

1 quarter inch slice fresh ginger, chopped

1/2 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or more to taste

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 large shallot, thinly sliced

4 medium mushrooms, thinly sliced

1/2 cup extra fancy petit pois, defrosted

1/3 cup edamame, defrosted

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

10 medium to large shrimp, cooked

2 cups fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped

About 1/2 cup spicy micro greens, plus extra for garnish

Freshly grated lemon zest to taste

To prepare:

In a saucepan over high heat, bring water to a boil, remove from the heat, add tea bags, lemon grass and ginger, cover and steep for 15 minutes. Strain out the tea bags, lemon grass, ginger and discard. Return the broth to the saucepan over medium heat, whisk in wine, lemon juice, and vinegar, taste and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover and set off the heat.

Meanwhile, cook shrimp in boiling salted water until they turn pink and begin to curl, the cooking time will depend on the size of the shrimp. Drain, remove shells, and cut the shrimp in half lengthwise and set aside.

In a saucepan over moderate high heat, lightly coat the bottom with olive oil, add shallot and sauté until beginning to soften. Add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, sauté until the mushrooms are tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add peas, edamame and reserved tea broth. Bring to a boil, taste and adjust the seasonings. Can be done ahead up to this point.

To serve, divide the spinach and shrimp between two large warm soup bowls.

Ladle the steaming hot broth/vegetables over the spinach and shrimp. Top with freshly grated lemon zest, a few drops of extra virgin olive oil and garnish with micro greens. Serve at once.

Roasted Beet Tartare

(Serves 6)

2 large red beets, leaves trimmed, skin scrubbed

1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste

About 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 to 3 teaspoons Dijon mustard, or more to taste

1 medium to large yellow or white onion, chopped

1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons capers or more to taste, rinsed

1/2 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

Freshly grated zest of one lemon

Plain Greek yogurt (drained, to make “yogurt cheese”) for garnish


Baby spinach leaves for first course

Endive spears for hors d’oeuvres

To prepare:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Trim leaves, use for salad or to sauté. Scrub the beets and wrap in aluminum foil. Place the beets on a baking sheet and roast until they are tender, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The beets will be tender to the point of a table fork. The baking time depends on the size of the beets. Remove beets from the oven, cool until you can peel them. With plastic or rubber gloves, slip the skins off the beets. Cut in half and roughly cut into chunks. Transfer to the food processor fitted with the stainless steel cutting blade or roughly chop by hand. Add a few drops of olive oil; salt, pepper, lemon juice, mustard and briefly pulse. Transfer the beets to a bowl, add onion, capers, parsley and lemon zest, stir well to blend. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate a few hours or over night. Can be done ahead and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Stir well, taste and adjust the seasonings before serving.

To serve, grate lemon zest on top and garnish with a dollop of yogurt “cheese.”

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