This winter we’re catching up with some of our favorite local chefs to talk produce, fridge contents, and home-cooking tips. Yesterday I stopped by the White Birch Tasting Room in Skaneateles to chat with Chef Luke Houghton of Pure Catering. Luke has an impressive resume, working across the Fingerlakes Region as chef and consultant before creating Pure Catering and Events. When I stopped by the tasting room Luke was prepping for a 40 seat dinner pairing small plates with local single vineyard rieslings. I honestly wish I could have stayed for dinner! In addition to the tea and flower cured salmon pictured above he was working on a beet dish with seared scallops, pork belly, and jamón croquette.
Tea & Flower Cured Salmon, Arugula Purée, Potato
What’s Your Favorite Vegetable & Why?
Asparagus mostly because it signifies spring and the end of winter. It’s one of the first things to pop up after a long winter.
What 3 ingredients do you always have in your home kitchen?
Citrus – lemons and limes.
Smoked paprika, I don’t know why, I just always have it.
You’re probably never home, but when you are, what’s your go-to quick meal?
I’m never home, but my go-to is leftovers from the party the night before or cheese. My favorite is an aged gouda by itself.
What’s your best tip for home cooks?
I always tell people that cooking is not rocket science, it’s a matter of seasoning. The simplest thing to elevate your food from A to B is salt and pepper.
What would people be surprised to find in your refrigerator?
Right now, I can think of 2 things. Pickled enoki mushrooms and pickled ramps. I was pickling ramps and I had some mushrooms so I thought, why not?