Ask A Los Angeles Chef: 5 Tasty Pumpkin Dishes

October 14, 2015 5:00 AM

(credit: marco mayer/Shutterstock)

(credit: marco mayer/Shutterstock)


Pumpkin’s bountiful flavor and texture appear at the heart of favorite autumn dishes. It’s an orange squash that lends itself well to both savory entrees and sweetly spiced desserts. Los Angeles chefs and restaurants know that seasonal ingredients featured on the menu appeal to its patrons. Both Napa Valley Grille’s Executive Chef Andre Bice and Regional Executive Chef David Gussin of Fig & Olive envelop pumpkin into aromatic pasta dishes that capture the essence of the seasonal squash. Read on for recipes on making these tasty dishes as well as instructions on creating pumpkin desserts and handcrafted pumpkin-based cocktails.
(credit: Napa Valley Grille)

(credit: Napa Valley Grille)


Executive Chef Andre Bice
Napa Valley Grille
1100 Glendon Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310) 824-3322
napavalleygrille.com

New Executive Chef Andre Bice brings an accomplished culinary background and seasonal perspective to the Westwood restaurant, Napa Valley Grille. Bice created a new menu, which is a fresh take on the restaurant’s signature California cuisine. Classics like the kale chopped salad and gourmet cheese board remain, while favorites like the braised short rib and scallops are complemented with seasonal produce (insert pumpkin). In addition to new food items, Napa Valley Grille is also introducing updates to its wine and cocktail lists. Bice says he sees his work as a chef as “a constant study.” He seeks to create delicious dishes that showcase the incredible bounty of California.

(credit: pedrosala/Shutterstock)

(credit: pedrosala/Shutterstock)


Seared Scallops Served Over Pumpkin With Micro Arugula, Pepitas Brittle And Sage Foam
Ingredients for pumpkin sauce:

  • 1 cup pumpkin, small dice
  • 4oz. butter (unsalted)
  • 1oz. minced shallots
  • 1/4oz. minced garlic
  • 2 (per serving) sprigs thyme
  • 1 (per serving) whole cinnamon stick
  • 1 (per serving) whole nutmeg
  • 2oz. mascarpone cheese
  • 2oz. crème fraiche
  • 1 cup chicken stock

Directions for pumpkin sauce:

  1. Melt butter in a sauté pan on medium heat.
  2. Once mostly melted add small diced pumpkin, shallots, garlic, thyme, cinnamon stick. With microplane, grate some nutmeg to taste.
  3. Saute for 1 minute.
  4. Add chicken stock and cook for an additional 2 minutes or until pumpkin begins to soften. At this point most of the chicken stock should be evaporated.
  5. Add mascarpone cheese and remove from heat.
  6. Stir constantly to fully incorporated cheese, and finish with crème fraiche.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Ingredients for scallops:

  • 3 (per serving) U-8 scallops
  • Oil for searing

Directions for scallops:

  1. Season scallops with salt and pepper.
  2. Place in a pan that is hot with about 2oz of oil.
  3. Sear scallops on one side to develop proper caramelization.
  4. Finish in oven at 400 degrees for 2 minutes.

Ingredients for sage foam:

  • ½ (per serving) onion
  • 4 tablespoons (per serving) sage
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 quart cream
  • ½ bunch chives
  • ½ bunch parsley
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 1oz. garlic, chopped
  • 2oz celery, chopped
  • 4oz. parmesan cheese rind
  • 1 teaspoon soy lecithin

Directions for sage foam:

  1. In a sauce pot brown butter then strain to remove milk solids and set aside for later.
  2. In a sauté pan, sauté onion, garlic, celery, sages on low heat until onions are translucent.
  3. Add wine and reduce and then add cream, brown butter and parmesan cheese rinds. Reduce by 1/3.
  4. In a blender add reduce liquid, parsley, and chives and blend.
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Add soy lecithin and blend with a hand blender to develop foam.
(credit: Yulia Davidovich/Shutterstock)

(credit: Yulia Davidovich/Shutterstock)


Pumpkin Pudding
Ingredients:

  • 2 ¼ cup milk
  • 1 cup cream
  • ¼ cup crème fraiche
  • 1 cup cooked fresh pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • ½ tablespoon pumpkin spice
  • ¼ stick of butter

Directions

  1. Add milk, sugar, vanilla bean to a sauce pot on low heat.
  2. Add corn starch and whisk until it begins to thicken.
  3. In a separate bowl, add pumpkin, pumpkin spice, cream, crème fraiche and mix well. Add to pot of milk whisk until thick.
  4. Remove from heat and fold in butter and chill.

Pumpkin Spiced Cocktail
courtesy of Jonas Lucci from Napa Valley Grille

Ingredients:

  • 1.5oz shot of Fireball whiskey
  • Splash of lemon juice
  • Spoon of pumpkin puree
  • Splash of vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Shake and pour over ice.
  3. Garnish with a candied walnut and cinnamon stick.

Related: What You’re Drinking – Best Fall & Winter Cocktails

(credit: Fig & Olive)

(credit: Fig & Olive)


Regional Executive Chef David Gussin
Fig & Olive
8490 Melrose Pl.
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 360-9100
www.figandolive.com
Fig & Olive is a L.A. hot restaurant spot for fresh cuisine inspired by the south of France. Known for welcoming guests with an extra virgin olive oil tasting, Fig & Olive presents three different oils paired with its home-baked rosemary olive oil fougasse (Provence) bread. For autumn, the 8,000-square-foot restaurant creates a menu focused on hand-selected ingredients utilized for taste and seasonality. Regional Executive Chef David Gussin is native of Los Angeles and draws upon his culinary background to serve French Riviera fare.
(credit: Fig & Olive)

(credit: Fig & Olive)


Pumpkin Sage Ravioli
Serves 4
Ingredients for pumpkin purée:

  • 1 3lb pumpkin
  • 1Spanish onion
  • 1oz garlic
  • fresh thyme
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

Directions for pumpkin purée:

  1. In a sauté pan, sauté the garlic and onions slowly with olive oil on low heat.
  2. Then add diced pumpkin & spices.
  3. Let cook until the pumpkin is very soft.
  4. Remove from sauté pan and blend the mixture with a hand mixer or a food processor. Process until smooth. If the mixture looks too dry or hard to blend, add a little water or chicken stock to loosen.

Ingredients for ravioli:

  • 6oz ravioli sheet
  • 1lb chicken breast
  • 1oz garlic
  • 1pc shallot
  • 1oz cilantro
  • 1/4oz harissa
  • 6oz ricotta
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 egg
  • salt, pepper to taste

Directions for ravioli and filling:

  1. Preheat the oven at 350°F.
  2. Combine chicken, garlic, and shallots with enough olive oil to coat the chicken pieces. Roast for 20-40 min (depending on the size of the chicken).
  3. Once it is out of the oven, let cool and dice chicken.
  4. Add in chopped cilantro, harissa, ricotta, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  5. Process in food processor until you get a fine, grain-like texture.
  6. Using a round cutter or a sharp knife, cut the ravioli large enough to seal in 1oz or 1 teaspoon of chicken mixture.
  7. Egg wash the dough and place the chicken mixture in the middle of the ravioli sheet. Cover the dough with the second sheet of pasta and press around the ravioli to seal the dough.
  8. Make sure there are no excess air pockets.

Ingredients for pumpkin oil and garnish

  • 1/4 cup pumpkin oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • white pepper, to taste
  • 1oz fresh sage
  • 4 tablespoon pumpkin seed
  • micro mix greens

Directions for pumpkin oil and garnish:

  1. Place sage leaves on a paper towel in microwave.
  2. Microwave on high for 30 seconds to 1 minute until the sage gets crispy.
  3. If needed, repeat for 30 seconds at a time until the sage is fully dry. Set aside.
  4. Combine pumpkin oil with lemon juice. Set aside.

Directions for final preparation:

  1. Cook the ravioli in salted boiling water for 2 minutes (depending on the thickness of the dough).
  2. Toss directly into the pumpkin oil to coat.
  3. Reheat the pumpkin purée and spread a tablespoon on the middle of the plate.
  4. Top with ravioli, garnish on top with crispy sage, pumpkin seeds, & micro greens. Drizzle excess pumpkin oil around the rest of the plate.
(credit: Greg Nesbit Photography/Shutterstock)

(credit: Greg Nesbit Photography/Shutterstock)


Pumpkin Spiced Martini Courtesy Of Fig & Olive
Ingredients:

  • 1.5 oz vanilla-infused Vodka*
  • ½ oz lime juice
  • ½ oz ginger syrup,
  • ½ oz apple brandy
  • Bar spoon of pumpkin butter
  • Garnish with a crushed graham cracker rim

Directions to make vanilla-infused vodka:

  1. To make Vanilla-infused Vodka: 3 vanilla beans, slice open and peel back sides.
  2. Drop into bottle of vodka and let sit for 48 hours, fine strain to remove vanilla beans and particles and rebottle in same vodka bottle.

Directions to make martini:

  1. Combine ingredients, shake and pour into chilled glass with crushed graham cracker rim.

Related: Best Pumpkin Patches In SoCal

Sheryl Craig is a writer with a passion for interesting finds and treasures in Los Angeles. She has a background in journalism and public relations. A mother of two daughters, Sheryl integrates her healthy lifestyle into raising her children. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.


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