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Aug 26, 2019

What 3 Astoria Chefs Cook at Home for A Quick Summer Meal

When your job involves being in a kitchen all day and night long, you might think that takeout rules the dinner table. But when you’re a professional chef, it’s hard (…)

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When your job involves being in a kitchen all day and night long, you might think that takeout rules the dinner table. But when you’re a professional chef, it’s hard to let go of that passion and creativity for food, even when you’re at home.

Here are three of Astoria’s top chefs’ go-to simple meals when they’re off the clock this summer…

NICK TESTA, THE BONNIE

Credit to Sam Ortiz.

At home, our go-to meal in the summer is fried chicken cutlets, like my mother used to make, with a simple cherry tomato and banana pepper salad. I purposely planted a ton of cherry tomatoes and banana peppers in my garden this year so that I could pretty much stop buying vegetables for the summer. I dress the salad with some olive oil, a little white wine vinegar, kosher salt and a bunch of fresh herbs from our garden, like basil, fresh oregano and parsley.

To make the cutlets, I dredge thinly pounded chicken breasts in flour, then a basic egg wash (a couple eggs beaten with a splash of milk), then seasoned Italian breadcrumbs doctored up with a ton of grated Parmesan. I season the flour with basic kosher salt and grains of paradise. I’m not a big fan of standard black pepper, so I always have grains of paradise from Kalustyan’s in an electric pepper grinder. Grains of paradise have a bit of a citrusy flavor and some peppery notes, but they’re smoother and cleaner tasting than standard black pepper.

I heat up about an inch of canola oil in a good cast iron skillet over high heat; to make sure it’s hot enough, I drop a pinch of breadcrumbs in, and once they sizzle and tiny bubbles form around them, I know the oil is ready. Then I add the breaded cutlets and turn the heat down to medium, and fry them until they’re golden brown. I drain them on a paper towel before we eat them. I make a big batch so they’ll last us for days; I’m always munching on cold chicken cutlets throughout the week.

NICHOLAS POULMENTIS, OLI.VINE

On my day off I love to relax and spend time with my kids. When it comes to cooking at home, I like to grill fish such as cod. I pan sears it first with salt and pepper and then makes a EVOO lemon sauce (which includes saffron) on top. I also like to cook chicken in the oven with roasted lemon potatoes, or fresh pasta. For the pasta, I mix it up it with a tomato emulsion sauce and sometimes add mussels or scallops.

CHEF EDDIE POPPKE, DIWINE 

My quick go-to summer meal is grilled swordfish with Mango Chutney, Parmesan Asparagus, and Balsamic Reduction:

Marinade:

4ea 9-10oz piece Swordfish
1 1/2c Light Soy Sauce
3/4c orange juice

Mango Chutney:

1ea Peeled Ripe Mango (¼ inch dice)
½ Green Bell Pepper (¼ inch dice)
½ Red Bell Pepper (¼ inch dice)
2pc Scallion/Green onion (sliced)
½ bunch Cilantro (minced)
2oz Red Wine Vinegar
2oz e.v.o.o.
S&P To Taste

Procedure: In a medium Tupperware place swordfish. Add soy sauce and orange juice. Let sit until ready to grill. Grill for about 4min per side.

Mango Chutney: In a medium mixing bowl add mango, red & green peppers, scallion, cilantro, red wine vinegar, e.v.o.o., and flavor with salt & black pepper to taste. This mango chutney will stay fresh for up to 6 days.

Balsamic reduction: There are two ways to do a Balsamic reduction. Go to the store and buy a bottle already made. This is the easiest and cheapest way. OR Get two 32oz bottles of Balsamic vinegar. Pour into a pot, and reduce the liquid by 2/3. (Test by putting a spoon into liquid pulling out the spoon and swiping your finger across the spoon. If the liquid stays separate, and does not combine quickly. Your reduction is ready)

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