One of our favorite chefs around is one of Food Network’s greatest stars, Amanda Freitag, who recently came out with her first cookbook, The Chef Next Door. While we have visited a farmers market with Freitag before, we’ve never gotten her guide to what foods are best for Fall, where to get them and how to cook them. Here’s a guide to shopping in-season produce below, and five accompanying recipes!
1. Fruits: One of my favorite dishes for this time of year is a Deep-Dish Apple Rhubarb Pie. I love going to the Union Square Greenmarket when they are open. If not, I’ll stop by Fairway, because they always have a large variety of apples that are from local orchards around this time of year. When rhubarb is not in season, I substitute fresh cranberries or figs. Fairway also has a unique selection of organic and imported butter. It is always fun to try a new butter and see how the flavor varies.
2. Vegetables: Roasted Cauliflower – I highly recommend trying to cook your cauliflower this way if you have never done it. Roasting brings out the nuttiness and deep flavors of the vegetable. The addition of turmeric insures that the cauliflower will have a gorgeous amber hue after roasting. My spice haven is Kalustyan’s. I love going there for a specific need and then staying and discovering a new spice or flavor.
3. Root Vegetables: In the Root Veggie Puree recipe in The Chef Next Door, I use butternut squash and turnip. They balance each other so well; the sweetness of the butternut and the bitterness of the turnip go perfectly together. Go crazy and experiment with other types of root veggies. They are in abundance at the Union Square Green Market. Pick up some celery root or parsnips for extra richness. And visit my friends S&So Produce and try their honey nut squash! You will be addicted!
4. Seafood: Ironically, we associate eating lobster with summertime. But the perfect time to eat them is when the waters are cold around this time of year. The flesh is more developed and the shell is nice and hard. I have a favorite lobster recipe where you just split the lobster and slather it with seasoned butter and roast it simply. This recipe is in the “Scary Stuff” chapter of my book because I know that most people are scared to cook lobster at home. I always get my lobsters at Lobster Place in Chelsea Market. Their lobsters are feisty and delicious!
5. Meat Cuts: While you are in Chelsea Market you can stop by Dickson’s Farmstand Meats to pick up some beef short ribs on the bone for braising. Call ahead and ask for a 2-inch thick cut; a thicker cut will give you a juicer piece of meat after braising and makes for a dramatic presentation. Beef Short Ribs have a nice marbling of fat throughout the meat and will be falling off the bone after you braise them. This recipe has red wine in the braising liquid and I never cook with wine that I wouldn’t drink, so pick up a bottle or two that you can serve with the ribs and cook with!
If you are not in Chelsea, I highly recommend Esposito’s Meat Market in Hell’s Kitchen. They are professional butchers and have a wide variety of meats.