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News » Cover Story

Savor the Season

Recipes to make the most of the fall harvest.

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DEREK CARLISLE
  • Derek Carlisle

Compiled by Devour Utah writers

Fall is here, heralding golden days of gorging on produce that's holding on even into September. Your hard work from the spring and summer is likely rewarding you with more tomatoes, eggplant, corn, squash, pears, peaches and apples than you can face.

Here to share favorite recipes to help you get the most from your fading gardens and your remaining farmers market spoils are local chefs Mike Blocher of Table X, Nick Zocco of Afterword, Ken Rose of Tiburon, Rob Perkins of Franck's as well as food writer Ari LeVaux. Should these recipes not inspire you, don't let your produce shrivel on the vine! Chop up what remains in the garden and make a savory veggie stew.

Chefs Mike Blocher, left, and partner Nick Fahs, of Table X - JOHN TAYLOR
  • John Taylor
  • Chefs Mike Blocher, left, and partner Nick Fahs, of Table X

Cream and Caramel
Mike Blocher, and partner Nick Fahs, of Table X, grow a variety of seasonal items in their onsite garden located behind the restaurant, which doubles as a lovely seating area on warm days. Table X has a full-time gardener, Gwen Orchard, who assists in planning the garden each season and caring for it. The goal is to find unique items that can be incorporated into the menu. Recently, they have had great success with "husk cherries"—similar to a gooseberry, savory like a tomato but with a sweet profile, it is prepared by removing the husks and then salting for the amuse bouche course of the tasting menu. Currently, at Table X, diners can enjoy a five- or seven-course tasting menu on a daily basis.

Creamy Polenta With Caramelized Vegetables
"One of my all-time favorite comfort foods is rich creamy polenta with braised meat or caramelized vegetables in a flavorful sauce," Blocher said. "This dish is perfect for the end of summer/early fall with the warm days and chilly nights. For this recipe, you can use any veggies you have hanging around—like onions, eggplant, kale or other hearty greens, cabbage, carrots, etc. We choose mushrooms because of our long-running partnership with Adam Wong and Intermountain Gourmet Mushrooms in Ogden. His mushrooms can be found every week at the Downtown Farmers Market. Feel free to stray from the specifics of this recipe and use what you have lying around."

Soft Polenta (make first)
Ingredients
1 minced yellow onion
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup corn meal
3 cups water
2 cups whole milk
2 ounces grated white cheddar cheese (any melting cheese will work)
5 ounces whole cubed butter
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup mascarpone cheese or cream cheese (to serve)

Process
In a heavy bottom saucepan, sweat onions in melted butter and a pinch of salt until translucent.

While onions are sweating, in a separate cooking vessel, heat milk and water together until the mixture simmers. Make sure simmered milk/water mixture is seasoned.

When onions are fully translucent, add cornmeal to onions and mix it together for about 1 minute. Make sure polenta is coated with butter and mixed evenly with sweated onions.

Add the hot milk/water mixture to the polenta and onions in four stages, stirring with a whisk to fully incorporate at each stage.

After all the liquid has been added, bring to a low boil. Do not stop stirring until it comes to a boil or it will become lumpy and/or sink to the bottom of the pot and burn. Gently simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When the polenta is fully cooked, add in grated cheese and the butter. Adjust seasoning and reserve in a covered dish in a 200-degree oven to hold while making the mushrooms.


Caramelized Mushrooms
Ingredients
1 shallot, sliced
8 ounces mushrooms (anything from Intermountain Gourmet at the Downtown Farmers Market)
2 ounces white wine
8 ounces chicken or vegetable stock
1 cube butter
Juice of half a lemon
Vegetable oil as needed
Kosher salt as needed
Fresh ground black pepper as needed
Garnishes: Fresh chopped herbs of choice

Process
Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add enough vegetable oil to just coat the bottom of the pan.

Sauté the shallots until they are translucent. Add all of the mushrooms and stir.

Cook down the mushrooms until they start to lightly brown and begin to stick a little to the pan.

Once they start to stick, add the white wine to deglaze the pan. Once the wine is almost completely reduced, add the chicken stock and bring to a light simmer. Season with salt and pepper.

Turn off the heat and add the butter and lemon juice and stir to combine. Add chopped herbs.

To Serve: Place a big scoop of polenta in a shallow bowl and pour the mushrooms and remaining broth into the bowl around the polenta. Top with a spoonful of mascarpone to let melt in while eating. (By Aimee L. Cook)

Table X
1457 E. 3350 South, Salt Lake City
385-528-3712
tablexrestaurant.com