Falling for the Flavors of Autumn

Get ready to roast, sear and sizzle
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By Brud Holland
Photos by Garrison Kuhl

Sipping a glass of rosé, something that many wineries run out of this time of year, takes me back to the beginning of “the season,” which seems to start here in the Finger Lakes around the first or second week in March. I think this year there might have been a few new 2020 rosés in mid-February, mostly due to last year’s stellar growing conditions and generally cooperative picking weather.

It’s become a tradition for wineries to release rosé in the early spring to mark the start of each new vintage, or at least it feels that way. Or maybe it’s just a good time to release a new wine with many people embracing its popular marketing phrase, “Rosé all day!”—better yet, “Rosé all year!”

There is no better time to experience a wine region than during harvest, no matter what the weather brings. But don’t say that to the winemakers and vineyard managers; they want cool mornings, warm days and lots of sunshine. And farmers growing everything from tomatoes to basil, from apples to pumpkins, want the same thing. Just enough rain, just enough wind, just enough cool nights and oodles of sunshine. Good luck getting that every year!

This is why everything Finger Lakes is worth experiencing every year, so that you can revel in the change, experience all the nuances and, in general, see what folks living and producing products in this region go through every fall, starting in late August and rolling through September and October.

When I think of summer salads, I think of light greens, a fruit component, perhaps some nuts and a zippy dressing that cuts through the sweetness of the fruit whether it be strawberries, peaches or blueberries. As fall gives way to hard squashes, pumpkins, apples, pears and unusual fruits like quince, I want darker flavors in my dressings and heartier greens like kale, Swiss chard and arugula. As much as I love “Flower Power” from Remembrance Farm for summer salads, I’m ready to incorporate some bolder flavors and sturdier greens that match up to the cooler weather and the kinds of produce items that are offered. And most of the time, that means more of the roasted vegetables and fruits than the greens.

Try this duo of recipes for a delicious fall dinner that is easy to pull together and works great with rosé but would also be dynamite paired with your favorite dry Riesling or Gewürztraminer.

Brud Holland is the executive chef at Sapalta restaurant and café in Dresden.

Warm “Fall” Dressing
Throughout September and October you’ll find a wide variety of squash like acorn, delicata, a load of pie pumpkins and the good ole butternut that all work in a warm dressing that can be tossed on any variety of greens right out of the pan. I like to cut everything about 1/4”, starting with things that take longer to cook in the beginning ending with the parsley that needs no time at all. The overall goal is a just tender vegetables with a confetti look that ensures an endless burst of flavor and color in every single bite.
Check out this recipe
Stovetop “Plank” Potatoes
Check out this recipe
Overnight Dry-Rubbed Pork “Eye Round” Steak, Apricot Jam Glaze
This smaller sized morsel of a steak is the perfect meal to serve with a warm side salad full of vegetables and a quick, plank style potato cooked in a little butter and wine. This a new cut, from a small portion of what usually gets turned into ham from the hind leg of pork. I was introduced to this super tender petite steak in the summer by John Eden, manager of Bostrom Farms retail shop on 5&20 just a few miles west of Geneva.
Check out this recipe

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