Every season brings a new selection of ingredients for a chef to get creative with. For both the diner and chef, this keeps things interesting.
As usual, the fall season brings traditional favorites like apples and pumpkin. But, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, pears, figs and kale are also in season.
Fall doesn’t only mean new ingredients to play with, but also new pairings to be made.
We decided ask some of the best chefs across the country about what menu dishes they are preparing this season, which ones have been the most popular, and what their perfect pairings are for fall.
What ingredients have you incorporated into the menu this fall?
Chris Pandel, executive chef of Chicago’s Swift & Sons: With complete reluctance to give in to fall full knowing the onslaught of winter is hiding around the corner, our menus reflection of autumn ingredients is surprisingly rich. Pineapple glazed sweet potato with parsnip cream. Chilled beets with bottarga and lemon aioli. Meyer lemon glaze on our raw hamachi dish. Apple butter and spiced walnuts paired with foie gras terrine. Raw Naples squash "Panzanella" salad with toasted pumpkin bread and pickled cherries. Hubbard squash agnolotti with crispy duck confit. Braised cabbage and au poive sauce with roasted salmon. Of course, there's also crispy fried Brussels sprouts with star anise and basil.
Nina Compton, executive and owner of NOLA’s Compère Lapin: This fall I am using sunchokes , or Jerusalem artichoke . Roasting them or even making a velvety purée.
Chef Kim Canteenwalla of LV's Honey Salt, Andiron Steak & Sea and Buddy V’s: This time of year I like to incorporate a lot of squash and other hearty vegetables into my menus. At one of my restaurants in Las Vegas, Honey Salt, we are serving fresh Burrata with roasted and caramelized pumpkin.
Can you give us some of your perfect pairings for fall?
Chef Pandel: Apple cider is an obvious one but maybe not so obvious with oysters. We like a Brut cider with some of our lighter oysters we serve in cold storage.
Chef Compton: Braised beef short ribs with vanilla parsnip purée pairs very well this a Cabernet Savignon, the rich braised meat needs something with a lot of big bold fruit flavor as a compliment to the dish as the short ribs are braised in red wine which also ties them together.
Roasted cauliflower with buttermilk dressing would be complimented by champagne. Why not fancy it up! The bubbles acts as a palate cleanser so after each bite of the creamy cauliflower, the buttery and yeasty flavor of the champagne also rounds everything out.
Apple and celery root agnolotti pairs well with a Sancerre. The fruitiness from both the apple in the pasta filling and the wine work well, as well as the acid is able to contrast the creamy filling. Sancerre has a lot of green fruit flavors which makes this a match made in heaven.
Chef Canteenwalla: Hot Cider and donuts are perfect for the fall season. As the weather cools down, this fun and playful pairing becomes a great choice for family gatherings. A spicy cider with cinnamon, clove, allspice, and nutmeg compliments light, fluffy, and sweet donuts and creates a well-balanced flavor profile.
Game Pâté with Sauvignon Blanc. The rich, gamey flavor of the pâté pairs perfectly with the crisp, fresh finish of a Sauvignon Blanc. This is a perfect appetizer for a big Thanksgiving party that is sure to impress guests.
Bulleit Bourbon with Smoked Brisket. Natural sweetness from the bourbon combines with the smokiness of the brisket to create a deep, complex and delicious flavor. This is the perfect pairing to enjoy on a lazy Sunday afternoon while watching football with friends.
What dishes have you seen so far be especially popular this season?
Chef Pandel: Brussels sprouts seem to be a crowd favorite these days– whether they are crispy and fried or shaved raw with pecorino and black pepper. Squash filled pasta is a crave-able fall item that our guests can't seem to get enough of either.
Chef Compton: Fall is a great time for earthy ingredients such as mushrooms, truffles/ Lots of pumpkin and winter squashes used as sides roasted with lots of herbs or used as pasta fillings. Of course, Brussels sprouts are popping up in salads. Fall is really about comfort food, so a lot of warm spices either in pumpkin soup or sweet potato pie.
Chef Canteenwalla: I am seeing a lot of new and interesting applications of root vegetables this fall season. Pickled, roasted or pureed root vegetables seem to be finding their way onto a lot of menus this year and many chefs are taking a more vegetable-forward approach in their restaurants.