Autumn flavors: Whidbey offers perfect fall ingredients for your table

A chill is in the air and farmers markets are overflowing with freshly harvested produce. It’s the time of year for warm, comforting food and Whidbey Island offers the perfect ingredients and the people who know what to do with them.

The South Whidbey Record got together with Liz Sherman of Sherman’s Pioneer Farm in Coupeville and Kyle Campbell, sous chef at Frasers Gourmet Hideaway in Oak Harbor, who gave suggestions for a truly farm-to-table experience.

The Shermans specialize in sugar Hubbard squash, a cross between blue Hubbard and sweetmeat squash. “It’s sweet,” said Liz Sherman. “The only one that’s sweeter is sweetmeat.”

Sherman not only grows the food, she really knows what to do with it. She said she’s always enjoyed cooking and experimenting in the kitchen.

“It’s hard to follow a recipe, because I always find myself doctoring it,” she said.

She said lately, a family favorite has been a sugar Hubbard soup with a little bit of peanut butter.

Sugar Hubbard squash and peanut butter soup

2 cups puréed sugar Hubbard squash

2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

Mix the ingredients together with your mixer or Ninja. Put into a sauce pan and heat. Add 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Heat thoroughly. Put in a mug and eat/drink.

• • •

At 30 years old, Kyle Campbell has spent half his life cooking professionally. He got his first job at 15 when he was living in Pennsylvania and has been at Frasers Gourmet Hideaway for a total of nine years. He developed a pork belly special about six months ago, and it’s been a hit ever since, according to owner Scott Fraser.

“It’s like a warm pat on the back,” Campbell said of the recipe with a laugh.

Cooler weather means heavier meals and the zucchini fritters add another seasonal touch. His main tip was to score the pork belly skin, meaning slice lines diagonally across in both directions on the meat. This ensures it turns out “GBD,” or golden, brown and delicious.

Pork

Kyle Campbell (Frasers Gourmet Hideaway)

4 lbs pork belly raw

1 gal water

1 c sugar

1 c salt

3 c chicken stock

thyme, rosemary, bay leaf

Combined water, sugar and salt. Brine pork belly for 24 hours in refrigerator.

Next day either Sous vide or braise.

To sous vide: Pat dry and cryovac pork belly with herbs. Place cryovac bag in water bath with sous vide machine set to 154 degrees and cook for 24 hrs. Remove bag from bath and chill with a weight applied overnight. Remove pork belly from bag and cut into 8 portions. Sear skin side in hot pan until brown. Flip pork and finish reheating in oven.

To braise- Heat oven to 325 degrees. Braise 2 hours covered with 3 cups stock and herbs. Uncover and cook for 1 hour more. Cool and portion. Reheat in oven when ready to serve

Zucchini Fritters

2 large zucchini grated and salted

½ c parmesan

1 ½ c flour

2 tsp baking powder

Salt and pepper

2 Tbsp. shallots

2 green onions finely chopped

½ c buttermilk

Squeeze zucchini to remove all liquid combine all ingredients in bowl. Spoon into hot pan with oil and cook like a thick silver dollar pancake. Brown both sides.

Charred Broccolini

2 bunches broccolini

2 Tbsp. oil

Blanch broccolini for 30 seconds in boiling water. Cool immediately in ice water. Toss dry broccolini with oil and char on very hot grill or hot cast iron pan, then serve.

Sous Chef Kyle Campbell puts the finishing touches on his seared pork belly with zucchini fritters, broccolini and a grainy mustard sauce. He developed the special that’s become a favorite among customers at Frasers Gourmet Hideaway in Oak Harbor. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News Group

Sous Chef Kyle Campbell puts the finishing touches on his seared pork belly with zucchini fritters, broccolini and a grainy mustard sauce. He developed the special that’s become a favorite among customers at Frasers Gourmet Hideaway in Oak Harbor. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News Group

Liz Sherman of Sherman’s Pioneer Farms, points out the different varieties of squash available at the farm. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News Group

Liz Sherman of Sherman’s Pioneer Farms, points out the different varieties of squash available at the farm. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News Group

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