Summer flew by way too quickly for our taste. But at least the changing of seasons brings all kinds of new and exciting things into our lives. Fall, in our opinion, is the best time of year for men’s style with all the new layering pieces up for grabs. It’s one of the best times to travel as we move away from high season and into fall foliage. But the most exciting part about entering a new time of year is all the different ingredients coming into season. Sure, we have to say goodbye to juicy, ripe tomatoes and delicious sweet corn, but fall is high time for some of our favorite dishes and traditional meals (cough, Thanksgiving). So to welcome September with open arms and palates, we asked some of our favorite chefs what new ingredients they are introducing in their kitchens this month and beyond.
Andrew D’Ambrosi, chef at Bergen Hill, is a magician when it comes to veggies, transforming them into some of the most succulent meals we’ve had. So we trust him completely when he tells us to cook with them. “My holy trinity of autumn is pears, parsnips and brussels sprouts,” D’Ambrosi said. “This trio is not only at its best in the fall, but the ingredients work harmoniously together in a variety of preparations.” He’s talking dishes like poached pears and roasted brussels with a parsnip puree, a salad with pickled parsnips, brussels leaves and pear butter and shaving the ingredients to make a raw slaw. “If you’re not allergic to nuts, I highly recommend adding toasted hazelnuts and making a vinaigrette from lemon, sherry vinegar and hazelnut oil,” he said. “It will compliment each preparation swimmingly.” Of course, all these veggie dishes would turn up a notch with everyone’s favorite meaty addition. “Hot Chef’s tip #41: Put bacon all over everything,” he said.
Over at the popular Nordic restaurant Aquavit, chef Emma Bengtsson is too looking forward to the season’s best produce. “Apples and mushrooms are two of the iconic fall favors,” Bengtsson said. “I’m looking forward to using a variety of mushrooms for a Soft Cooked Egg dish I’m creating. I want to use varieties I haven’t worked with in the past or those not as common in Sweden. Maitake is great for its earthy and almost gamy flavor, as is King Oyster which is woodsy yet sweet with a meaty texture. I’m also looking to discovering versatile, local apple varieties that can be served raw or cooked for a dessert I’m developing with a Raw Milk Sherbert.”
Chef Bryce Shuman at year-old Betony is experimenting with a variety of ingredients to build out the restaurant’s fall menu. “Though people don’t usually think to do this, kabocha squash makes the best pickles in my opinion,” Shuman said. “It’s deeply flavorful, sweet and crunchy. You see it braised and fried but rarely pickled raw.” The kitchen at Betony is also playing around with koji – a fungus widely used in Korean, Chinese and Japanese cuisine to ferment soybeans – to make their own miso.
But chefs aren’t working solely with produce to develop their fall menus. “We’re hanging and aging Mangalitsa pork belly now,” Shuman said. “By the time it starts to cool off, that funky tang of aged pork fat is going to find its way into a few of our dishes.” Out in East Hampton at Bay Kitchen Bar, chef Eric Miller is working with one of Long Island’s best natural resources – fish. “Swordfish is coming into season, so we’re rubbing it with spices (coriander, cumin, fennel seed, mustard seed and black peppercorn) then pan searing and serving it over braised greens and mashed yams, topped with wild mushroom salad and finished with a champagne vinaigrette,” Miller said.
Our mouths are watering already. Are you guys hungry for fall yet?