I’m not one for PSLs or decorative gourds, but I did go completely nuts last weekend at my local farmers’ market with the first autumn squashes. A copious haul of shapely butternuts and striped delicatas — that’s my seasonal home décor.
Mine are mostly destined for the sheet pan so they can get sweeter and golden at their edges, just like in Yewande Komolafe’s gochujang chicken and roasted vegetables. She uses the umami-rich Korean fermented chile paste as a base for a glaze, zipped up with grated ginger and soy sauce, then smeared on bone-in chicken and all those beautiful butternuts (turnips, too!). While everything roasts, turning crisp and bronze, make a quick pickle with radishes and scallions, which adds loads of brightness and texture to this hearty, autumnal dish.
Equally redolent of the glories of fall is a big, aromatherapeutic pot of beans bubbling in the kitchen. We had a cold snap this past weekend in New York, which had everyone in my house primed for Colu Henry’s pasta e ceci, an Italian pasta and chickpea stew. You can adjust the amount of liquid, so it works both for soup and stew lovers with its savory tomato-y broth, tender chickpeas and ditalini, and hearty greens. The pecorino grated on top is fantastic, but honestly we loved it just as much without.
Serve it on its own, or perhaps alongside David Tanis’s roasted eggplant salad (which could be your first course if you’re feeling fancy). After the eggplant is charred until it’s soft and smoky-tasting, the silky strands are dressed simply in good olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and cumin, then tossed with green chile and cilantro. This salad keeps well in the fridge, so save the leftovers for lunches.
Another score from my farmers’ market spree was a knob of thin-skinned fresh ginger, so much juicier and more delicate than the older bulbs you find in the supermarket. If you see some, grab it, so you can use it in Kenji López-Alt’s Cantonese-style steamed fish. If cooking whole fish is not in your comfort zone, Kenji assures us that the recipe can also be made with fish fillets, which are just as good at absorbing the sizzling hot oil and aromatics that are used to finish this beautiful dish.
For that final grace note, Sara Bonisteel’s delightful butter tarts — caramel- and raisin-filled mouthfuls that are encased in a flaky crust — are a sweet way to end any meal.
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That’s all for now. I’ll see you on Wednesday.