By Jessica Estrada | November 15, 2016 | Food & Drink
It's no secret that LA chefs are grateful for all the delicious ingredients in their kitchens, but we were curious to find out what ingredient they are most grateful for this year—and their favorite ways to use it.
“Hard squash is great during this season. My favorite one is the kabocha squash that has a deep golden color, relatively less moisture, and a great natural sweetness. It can be used in sweet and savory applications. Lately, we’ve been using them in our pumpkin waffles that are paired with the Moroccan fried chicken.”
“I love this time of year if just for persimmons. I grew up with a persimmons tree in my backyard in Israel. We are featuring them in our fall chopped salad, which also has kohlrabi, pumpkin leaves, apples, purple radish, pomegranate seeds, marcona almonds, and white balsamic vinaigrette.”
“This time of year, I’m thankful for chestnuts. I roast them in their shell, then dice them, and add them to my stuffing with porcini mushrooms. It adds a nutty, woody flavor and a great texture."
“Sumac adds an exciting new flavor profile to your cooking and its purple color is great for dusting on top of just about anything. Its amazing aroma cuts through all of your soups and stews as well. Sumac is great for coating foods like fried chicken.”
"With the beginning of citrus season, one of the ingredients I am most thankful for is yuzu. Although yuzus are not very juicy, they are so aromatic. A little yuzu zest goes a long way in brightening up a dish. I’m currently using it in our shishito peppers."
“I'm most thankful for our citrus. We have such incredible citrus crops around Southern California. It's my most used ingredient. I use lemon zest or juice in more dishes than you would imagine. Acidity in cooking and being able to balance or cut dishes with fresh citrus is a chef’s best friend and the quickest solution to fixing dishes.”
"I'm going to go with fish sauce. It's useful because it adds lots of flavor to dishes and is healthy because a little goes a long way. I like to use fish sauce in place of salt in practically any dish. My favorite way to use it is to make a traditional dipping sauce. Fish sauce, lime juice, garlic, chili, and salt.”
"The ingredient I'm most thankful for is fried chili oil, which is a spicy, flavorful condiment. What's great about chili oil is that in addition to cooking with it, you can add it as is to all of your favorite foods. It adds a nice heat and it complements so many different dishes, from pizza to fries to tacos."
“I am grateful for apples! I like a traditional Thanksgiving menu and every year we eat the same roasted apple pie with a buttery, flaky crust for dessert.”
“I would say I am most thankful for freshly ground pepper! We use pepper once the cuts of the meats are prepared. We have a 28-day dry aging process and that’s when you can taste and really feel the flavor."
PHOTOGRAPHY BY: SCOTT FERRARA (GAVALLA); SIMBAL (PHAM)