Being fitness fanatics, as well as healthy-food A-listers, helps make chefs Michael Chernow and Dan Churchill the perfect City Harvest ambassadors.
Chernow, the bodybuilding owner of seafood haven Seamore’s, and Churchill, the executive chef at popular sustainable-food cafe Charley St, will lead teams of runners in November’s New York City Marathon. The goal is to help raise $250,000 for the city’s largest food-rescue organization.
“We’re both like-minded chefs into wellness,” Churchill says. “We’re lucky to grow up in an age to help promote the lifestyle. When we get together we’re like bros. And when City Harvest came calling, it was a natural fit for us.”
While marathon training hasn’t started, healthy eating is a year-round program for both. One way to stay healthy while enjoying the summer grilling season is using these fish-grilling tips both Chernow and Churchill share.
Buy fresh and seasonal
Salmon and cod are the popular fish-grilling choices, but both chefs agree there are plenty of other fish in the sea, or in this case, the Atlantic — one being porgy. About the size of your hand, the protein-packed porgy is a flavorful bang for your buck, and easy to cook. With a dash of salt and some lemon, porgy can be either grilled or steamed. “It’s really simple, nice, thin, delicate and super-oceanic,” Chernow says. “It’s very local, and sustainable. You don’t see it on a lot of menus but we serve it [at Seamore’s].”
Stop “flipping” out
We all become spatula maestros when we’re standing over a grill, but too much flipping and you’ll end up with fish fragments mixed with the charcoal below the grates.
To prevent sticking and breaking, make sure your grill is hot (“hotter than hot,” Chernow says). Rub the grates with olive oil, lay your fish skin-side down, Chernow says. “Otherwise the fish is gonna break, and then you have a disaster.”
Do not touch, they say, until the fish begins developing an opaque color about 75 percent through.
“Set it, forget it,” Chernow says. “Put it on the grill and DO NOT move it.”
Eggplant: It’s more than an emoji
Unlike a burger and fries, your fish should have a healthy and tasty vegetable sidekick. While you can’t go wrong with reliable grilled asparagus, both Churchill and Chernow agree eggplant deserves a shot on your grill.
Technically a fruit, this antioxidant and nutrient juggernaut makes a colorful plate addition. “One eggplant should make a nice side for about four people,” Chernow says. “It’s moist and delicious — and you can eat the skin.”
To grill eggplant, they suggest coating it first with olive oil and sprinkling with salt before wrapping it in foil. Place it on the grill for about 40 minutes. Remove, slice down the center, then butterfly before adding salt and parsley.
Grilling steak? Piece of “cake”
Having problems knowing when to remove your steak (or chicken) from the grill? Both chefs agree using a cake tester can help prevent your slab of meat from becoming charred. Place the thin rod in the thickest section for a few moments, then place it against your bottom lip. If it’s cold, it’s undercooked; scalding, you’ve overcooked it. “If it’s lukewarm, take it off, it’s done,” Churchill says.