Just in time for the autumn harvest, DC’s hottest chefs show us how they navigate their favorite farmers markets.
Red spring onions are one of chef John Critchley’s recent finds.
Executive chef, Brine. 2985 District Ave., Ste. 120, Fairfax, 703-280-1000
Favorite farmers market: Mosaic Central Farm Market (2910 District Ave., Fairfax) on Sundays. It inspires me because… “It’s a good way to gauge what’s growing and what’s coming in well.” What I always look for in the fall: “I love squash. They’re great for tarts because they have natural starch that makes them work well for pie filling. Plus, they take acidity well, so you can make them brighter with a lot of citrus.” Most surprising recent find: Red spring onions. Restaurant dish it inspired: “I threw them on the wood-fired grill and let them char up, then served them simply with olive oil, sea salt, and salsa verde.”
Broccoli rabe is the basis for a surprising new dish from chef Andrew Markert.
Favorite farmers market: Eastern Market (225 Seventh St. SE), a few blocks from his restaurant. It inspires me because… “I talk to the farmers, see what they’ve got, and taste stuff. Then I’ll haggle a bit. At the end of the day, though, I can be a pushover, since I’ve worked on a farm and I know the backbreaking work that goes into it.” What I always look for in the fall: “Apples are my favorite, especially the Honey Crisp and Pink Lady varietals.” Most surprising recent find: A nice batch of broccoli rabe. Restaurant dish it inspired: “I panseared it with garlic confit, honeycomb, and vincotto, and finished it with sarvecchio cheese.”
Pudding made from pawpaw is a sweet innovation by chef Nick Stefanelli.
Chef-owner, Masseria. 1344 Fourth St. NE, 202-608-5959
Favorite farmers market: FreshFarm (1309 Fifth St. NE) at Union Market on Sundays. It inspires me because… “Our menu is based on the mentality of the farmers market. We’re creating dishes around the products we find, not creating dishes and then going out to find product to fill it.” What I always look for in the fall: “There’s so much I love at this time of year—mushrooms, figs, tomatoes, heirloom carrots, and turnips.” Most surprising recent find: Pawpaw. “It tastes like an exotic fruit, but it grows in this area.” Restaurant dish it inspired: “I made a pudding with them, which we paired with dry-aged duck. The pawpaws added a nice sweet counterpoint to the dish.”