May 01, 2006
There is no reason healthy food shouldn’t also be delicious. Staying in the Zone is simple—and can be done with simple foods—but there’s no reason it must be bland, uninspiring, or monotonous. Menus and dishes that I create in my restaurant are constructed of the best ingredients at the peak of their ripeness—food that I would serve to my family and food that I eat at home. My dishes are ingredient-driven rather than recipe-driven, meaning that I mostly don’t know what the end result will be until I pick up the produce from the farmer’s market. This requires a bit of flexibility, knowledge of the seasons, and understanding of flavor combinations. With a little creativity, you can produce similarly appealing meals at home.
The following recipes are straight off my specials board, with a few modifications for the home cook and a little fine-tuning for the Zone. You could find the same dishes on many French or Italian tables. In keeping with the season, this is a typical spring menu, using ingredients that are easy to find right now. The entire menu should take very little time to prepare, and most of the cooking can be done outside on the grill rather than inside over a hot stove.