Recipes for diabetics in new gourmet cookbook

June 9, 2009 12:45:59 PM PDT
Imagine being a superstar chef and also struggling with diabetes.Well, that's what Tom Valenti must deal with every day.My initial reaction was I can't eat pasta anymore?" said Tom. But Tom still eats pasta and now, his illness has inspired him to write a cookbook, "You Don't Have to be Diabetic to Love This Cookbook". It's chock full of recipes from pasta to desserts that are easy to prepare, flavorful, nutritious--and most important, will appeal to diabetics. It took Tom two years to write the book and all of the dishes were created without using lots of sugar, salts and are lower in carbohydrates.

To regain taste, Tom uses a little culinary trickery, like substituting citrus and vinegars for certain ingredients.

One of the books recipes is a fish dish that's not served in either of his Manhattan restaurants, "Ouest" or "West Branch". It's called white fish en papillote which he says is easy to make at home. The fish is simply combined with vegetables, herbs, wrapped in parchment and baked. And with diabetes on the rise, Tom says home-cooked meals can make a difference.

"We don't have time to go to the store, it's easier for people," says Tom.

This gourmet superstar chef is a healthy eater now and keeps his diabetes in check. And while he still craves food he shouldn't have, his cooking is satisfying for him and he hopes for others.

"It's not a hot fudge sundae, but it's good." said Tom.

Fish en Papillote

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 lemon, divided into sections, sections peeled (see this page)
  • 4 white fish fillets, such as cod (4 ounces each)
  • 4 plum tomatoes, seeded and thickly sliced crosswise
  • ¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 8 fresh tarragon leaves (optional)
  • 2 small shallots, minced
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

    1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.

    2. Cut 4 pieces of aluminum foil (or parchment paper), each about 18 inches square. Smear butter on each piece and top each with a fish fillet. Neatly pile the tomatoes, lemon sections, parsley, tarragon, if using, and shallots on top of each fillet and season them with the salt and pepper. sprinkle each fillet with ¹/8 cup of the wine and 1½ teaspoons of the olive oil.

    3. Fold the foil up over each fillet and crimp the edges together to create a packet. Put the fish packets on a baking sheet and set the baking sheet over medium heat on a stovetop burner until you hear a sizzling sound, about 45 seconds. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake the fish until cooked through, about 7 minutes.

    4. Carefully put a foil packet on each of 4 plates and serve. Remind diners to cut the packets open cautiously.