Ethan Stowell's Trippin' on Autumn Mushrooms

By Leslie Kelly  |  October 29, 2013
Credit: Geoffrey Smith

Ethan Stowell, the busy chef-owner of eight Italian-inspired restaurants, including the sparkling new mkt. in Tangletown, is also a cookbook author, a Food & Wine Star Chef and James Beard Foundation nominee and a proud papa. He chatted recently with us about his favorite fall food, and share info on a new fine-dining project in the works.

Zagat: What seasonal ingredient are you most excited about?

ES: Mushrooms, porcini, lobster mushrooms, chanterelles and matsutake (also known as pine mushrooms), which we source from Jeremy Faber at Foraged & Found. He always brings us great stuff, and this has been a really good year for mushrooms. We haven’t seen so many in a few years.

Zagat: How are you using them?

ES: At Staple & Fancy, we sautéed matsutake in a little butter and finished them in a rich rabbit stock and served them on top a potato gnocchi, with some Parmigiano-Reggiano shaved on top. At Rione XIII, sautéed porcini were served with soft-cooked duck eggs and fresh herbs over the whole thing, the yolk from the egg making a kind of sauce.

Zagat: What wine would you drink with those mushroom dishes?

ES: With the gnocchi, I’d probably go with a lighter red, maybe a Pinot noir or a French burgundy, and with the porcini, I might choose something a little richer, a white Burgundy or a Soave.

Zagat: What’s your standing order when you dine at the new place?

ES: The halibut is really delicious, sautéed with chanterelles, and I really like the deep-fried quail. It’s a twist on classic fried chicken and comes with a potato salad that’s a twist on the classic - tiny potatoes with coarse grain mustard.

Zagat: So, what’s up next?

ES: Going to be doing a fine-dining restaurant soon at the old Cremant space in Madrona, and we’re busy working on getting mkt. up and running smoothly. I’m enjoying work and spending time with my one-year-old son, Adrian. He loves the whole experience at the dinner table and he eats anything. He’s eaten foie gras, sushi, salmon cheeks, pizza. He loves pizza. But he’s not big on spicy food. Not yet anyway.