For many chefs, Fall means a time to bring together a brand new menu. As the temperature drops, and the Canadian wilderness bursts into bright colours and rich harvest vegetables, many chefs will be looking to give their menus an overhaul. According to our 2015 Chef Survey, the locavore, or local movement, is in full swing and trending across Canada. So, why not indulge in some of Canada's best vegetables, and keep it local when putting together your Fall menus? Here are some of our favourite homegrown vegetables that you should keep on your radar.
Often purple and red, these gems contain folate, potassium, and vitamin C. Earthy and rich, beets can be roasted in the oven as a side dish or even eaten raw in salads. Pair with goat cheese for an unbeatable combo. Don't forget the roots! Many restaurants are rediscovering the versatility of the beet and incorporating both roots and greens into their seasonal menus - and beets are perfect for that. Need some recipe inspiration? Check out this slideshow.
When the cooler days come, colder temperatures and frost improves broccoli’s flavour. Try something new and different from just boiling or steaming them; try smoke-steaming them for a more smoky, original flavour.
Imagine if celery and parsley have a child - sweet and subtly nutty, the celery root can steal the show in a soup, hash or slaw. Celery root is roughly globe-shaped, with a knobby, uneven surface. The outside is a mottled brown color and the interior is creamy white; you may have to dig deep to see the beauty in this vegetable, but trust us, it's worth it!
Traditionally, people just eat the white and light green parts, although the darker green parts have plenty of flavor and can be cooked and shouldn't be discounted! Cook them longer to tenderize them, or used them when you're making homemade soup stock. Don't forget to take time to clean these guys - due to the way they are grown, dirt gets lodged in every part. For a different take on this mighty vegetable, char your leeks! Get them nice and dark on the outside and juicy and sweet on the inside.
Try a different colour!
Much of how we eat is in sight. Try adding a different coloured version of your favourite fall veggie to your plate. Here are some examples courtesy of Bon Appetit:
1. Fiesole Artichokes: Amazingly, the wine-colored hue is retained when steamed or roasted.
2. Rainbow Cauliflower: To keep the color bright, stick with raw or steamed preparations.
3. Purple Asparagus: Shave it into a salad, or slice it into coins. Just don’t peel it!
4. Purple Snow Peas: Think small: Thumbelina carrots, baby eggplants, and these petite snow peas make a big impression.
Need more inspiration when creating your Fall menus? Food Service and Hospitality tackles Thanksgiving planning and marketing in their latest post. Check it out here.