Sure, summer gets all the attention with its gaudy fruits and bountiful produce. But what about the fall season? We asked some of our chefs about their favorite fall ingredients and how they use them. Summer is so last season.
Chef Jason McClure, Sazerac (Seattle): I love local chanterelle mushrooms! We wait all year for these things. So many great ways to use them; they are highly versatile.
Chef Randy Spriggs,Encore Liquid Lounge (Chicago): Black Mission figs are a favorite this time of year. I like to prepare them with crispy prosciutto and melted goat cheese. This makes an excellent hors d’oeuvre.
Chef Caitlin Mateo, Square 1682 (Philadelphia): I just love working with (and eating) starchy fall veggies like parsnips and pretty much all squashes: butternut, acorn, winter. What I love about these particular vegetables is that I can use them in so many different dishes. We have them represented in everything from salads to purées, with fresh fish and meats. I love them in hearty soups or simply roasted with additional autumnal flavors.
Chef Thomas Dunklin, Three Degrees Waterfront Bar & Grill (Portland, OR): Nothing brings fall into play like roasting green chilies. When I was living in New Mexico the smell of roasting green chilies was everywhere — through the neighborhood and on the side of the roads. This smell signals the start of autumn for me.
Chef Walter Pisano, Tulio Ristorante (Seattle): This time of year, I love butternut squash for pasta, soups or just roasted. Sprinkle a little sweet salt on it to bring out the full flavor.
Chef Kris Koch,The SIX15 Room (Minneapolis): Where to begin? Growing up in the Midwest I would have to say apples. I love squash, too, but apples have a special place for me. My grandmother’s property had several large apple trees and I would love to climb the trees and eat apples till I was sick. Apple cider and hay rides just conjure up all kinds of great memories of picking apples on those crisp fall days in October. There are so many great varieties of apples — you can eat them plain (Honeycrisp and Fireside), bake with them or poach them (Haralson and McIntosh). They add a great burst of flavor to any type of dish. I love to do a slow-roasted pork shoulder on Sunday morning with warm spice (curry powder), apple cider and quartered whole apples. The cider adds the right amount of sweetness to balance the fatty riches of the pork. By mid-afternoon the whole house is smelling sweet and spicy. A quick batch of rice and some steamed vegetables and lunch is ready to go.
Chef Chris Lobkovich, Library Bistro &Bookstore Bar (Seattle): Brussels sprouts: I roast them on the stalk over charcoal, use them raw in a salad or will glaze them with bacon.
Chef Luca Corazzina, 312 Chicago (Chicago): Beets and butternut squash. I like to make a beet Carpaccio with toasted hazelnuts, ricotta salata cheese and blood orange vinaigrette. With the butternut squash, I like to make tortellini with brown butter sage, amaretto cookies and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Also, I like to prepare butternut squash gnocchi as a side with steaks.
And how about you? What goodies are you picking up at your local farmers’ market this fall and how do you plan on using them?