Bon Appetit

Would you expect cafeteria food to be even more delicious and healthier than your Mom’s?

Bon Appetit Management, an on-site restaurant company that prepares food for 400 locations, including the University of San Francisco, MIT, the Getty Museum, and Yahoo!, makes food from scratch using local ingredients. Their commitment to sustainability, health, and reducing the carbon footprint is remarkable. We need more companies like Bon Appetit who are doing a stellar job and trying to make a difference. Watch the video and drool.

I first met Fedele Bauccio, Bon Appetit’s co-founder, at “Cooking for Solutions”, an extraordinary annual event at the Monterey Bay Aquarium (Bon Appetit is a primary sponsor). Award-winning baker, chef, and cookbook author Jim Dodge, who is Bon Appetit’s Director of Special Events, is one of the main organizers. The gathering, which is now in its ninth year, brings together celebrity chefs, renowned wineries (Benziger, Chappellet, and Sanford wineries), press, and the general public. The two-day event of non-stop information panels, cooking demonstrations, and signature gala celebration is devoted to raising awareness and discovering how to protect the health of the soil, water, and ocean wildlife. And it’s FUN!!!



Pan-Seared Char with Olives, Pistachios, and Farro

Makes 4 main course servings

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped into ¼-inch dice
1 cup celery, peeled and chopped into ¼-inch dice
1 cup carrot, peeled and chopped into ¼-inch dice
1 cup fennel, tough outer leaves removed and chopped into ¼-inch dice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
2 anchovies, rinsed and chopped
3 cups thinly sliced kale (center rib removed)
1 cup farro (available in specialty food stores, Italian food stores and sometimes health-food stores)
4  cups vegetable stock, chicken stock or water
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon chopped lemon zest
¼ cup chopped green olives
½ cup chopped curly parsley
16 ounces Atlantic char or wild salmon, skin on, cut into 4 4-ounce filets
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup chopped pistachios, optional

Heat the 3 tablespoons olive oil in a dutch-oven over medium-high heat.  Add the onions, celery, carrots and fennel.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until tender and lightly browned.  Add the garlic, fennel seeds and anchovy and cook 1 minute.  Add the kale, farro, stock or water and bay leaves.  Season with salt and pepper.  Lower the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the farro is tender, about 35 minutes, adding more liquid if necessary.  It should be quite creamy, like a loose risotto.  Remove the bay leaves.  Stir in the lemon zest, olives, and parsley.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Season the fish with salt and pepper.  When the pan is hot, add the fish, skin side down, reduce the heat to medium and cook 4 to 5 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the fish and desired doneness.

To serve, put a spoonful of farro in the center of 4 warm plates.  Set a piece of fish on top.  Drizzle the fish with the remaining olive oil and the lemon juice. Sprinkle the pistachios over the top if desired.

Makes about 4 cups cooked farro.

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For a specific health problem, consult a qualified health-care giver for guidance.