Savor the Season | Cover Story | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

September 22, 2021 News » Cover Story

Savor the Season 

Recipes to make the most of the fall harvest.

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A Red Haven peach is firm, but “bleeds” juice, says chef Rob Perkins of Franck’s. - CAROLYN CAMPBELL
  • Carolyn Campbell
  • A Red Haven peach is firm, but “bleeds” juice, says chef Rob Perkins of Franck’s.

Fresh Creativity
After local farmers' markets close to the public on Saturday nights, Rob Perkins calls to see what produce they still have available to sell. "I can sometimes get kohlrabi, beet greens, whole beets, bok choi," he says. As Franck's executive chef, Perkins uses fresh produce as a vital component of his culinary creations. "I try to use as few nonlocal farmers as possible," he says.  

Perkins changes Franck's menu almost daily. "My esthetic is eclectic and fun dishes. I like to show a little whimsy in all of our food.' He smiles, "It keeps me young; I don't sleep a lot."

Perkins also enhances his culinary creativity by accessing produce from a variety of local farms. For example, he says that an impending delivery of sugar baby watermelon will soon augment the prime rib on the next Tasting Tuesday. "We inject it with a little bit of cayenne water and compress it just a bit to cook in contrast." He adds, "I like to have flavor, texture and temperature contrasts so that your palate stays motivated to eat."

His watermelon source, Mandi's Microgreens in Bountiful, "grows some wildly wacky tigger melon. It's never a musky melon; it's savory and funky rather than sweet." He adds, "We ferment that tigger melon to counterpoint the wagyu beef—it counterbalances that fatty unctuousness." Mandi's is also the source of Franck's heirloom tomatoes used to fashion their tomato appetizer. "We add fermented blackberry lavender aguachile to give it more kick and deaden some of the sweetness," he explains. "When we have a high sweetness, we tamp that down with bitterness and aggressive seasoning."

Perkins began working with the restaurant's namesake, Franck Peissel, who now works in Park City.  "I worked with him for 20 years. He and I opened the restaurant in 2001, and we've been kicking ever since." Thinking back to his days as the Franck's sous chef, Perkins says, "I spend my whole life trying to hold true to what we were back then." He concludes,  "We try to keep everything as local as possible. We try to have fun."

Quick Pickle Red Haven Peach
"If you eat a Red Haven peach, you'll feel like you've never had a peach before," says Perkins. "They are firm, but if you cut into one, it's so luscious and juicy, it's like it almost bleeds peach juice."

4 Red Haven peaches (available from Mandi's Microgreens)
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon mustard seed
2 bay leaves
1 sprig of thyme
2 cups of rice vinegar

Place vinegar, salt, sugar, mustard seed, bay leaf and thyme in a saucepot. Bring to a simmer just until the sugar dissolves, then turn off and set aside. Cut peaches in half and remove the pit. Cut peaches into eighths, then add to pickle liquid. Let the hot liquid with the peaches come down to room temperature while stirring often to rotate submerged peaches. Refrigerate for up to 10 days. Enjoy with heirloom tomatoes and burrata. Also goes great with grilled meats. (By Carolyn Campbell)

6263 E. Holladay Blvd., Holladay

Zucchini French toast :  A “molten eggy masterpiece.” - ARI LEVAUX
  • Ari LeVaux
  • Zucchini French toast : A “molten eggy masterpiece.”

Put Up Your Zukes
By Ari LeVaux

You know the routine. Winter gives way to spring, which is followed gently by summer, which glides into the season of getting rid of zucchinis. During those tense few weeks, neighbors and even strangers are afraid to make eye contact, lest a zucchini gets tossed, like some baby that you have to catch. And then it’s yours. And you, likewise belong to the zucchini.

In the northern Rockies, zucchini season often aligns with fire season. In need of fresh air last week, I took my family to the Pacific coast, where we were able to escape the smoke. But not the zucchinis.

Our friend Marilyn didn’t need to shove whole zucchinis in our faces to make them go away, because we were her guests. She was feeding us. We were captive. We were hungry. We were zucchini disappearing machines, and she used us strategically, like tools.

The zucchini bread came first, with breakfast, which nobody in their right mind could turn down. The vegetable stir-fry that accompanied the salmon we had for lunch had more green zucchini, and we polished it all off.

After getting rid of several green zucchini in that manner, she switched to yellow that evening. Yellow zukes are easier to disappear into other dishes than the greens, she later confided. But that night she let her cooking do the talking, as she baked a quiche souffle out of yellow zucchini and Dungeness crab, a recipe invented by her sister, who lives on an island off the coast of Canada.

The next morning, Marilyn made pancakes with grated yellow zucchini, and they were moist and fluffy. That afternoon we stuck a green one into a batch of triple chocolate cookies, and nobody but us were the wiser. I came home with a truckload of ideas for what to do with zucchini, as well as a baseball bat-sized specimen that Marilyn snuck into the bed of the truck before we took off. When we got home I sliced it in half, lengthwise, and threw it to the chickens. As far as I know that’s the only thing you can do with a big zuke.

Zucchini French Toast
When preparing zucchini for humans, the fruits should be no longer than a foot-long hot dog. If you need direction in cooking them, you could do worse than fry some slices in butter. Me, I was inspired by those pancakes. When I got home I grated some yellow zucchini and added it to a French toast batter, so the long shreds got plastered onto the bread by the egg mixture. As they cooked in the hot pan below the weight of egg-soaked bread, the zucchini strands released water, which instantly turned into steam, cooking the interior of the toast into a moist, molten eggy masterpiece that crushed the non-zucchini-enhanced control toast. They were moister and fluffier than the control group, and the kids couldn’t for the life of them figure out what brought about the improvement until they looked at the stringy leftover batter. When we ran out of bread, we soaked up the rest of the egg mixture with grated zucchini and made fritters.

For four pieces of bread, I used two eggs, a tablespoon of vanilla, a teaspoon of cinnamon, a half-cup of milk, a half cup of finely grated zucchini and a pinch of salt. Mix thoroughly and coat the bread. Fry it in butter. Put a pad atop each piece before flipping it so there is plenty where it needs to be.

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About The Authors

Carolyn Campbell

Carolyn Campbell

Campbell has been writing for City Weekly since the 1980s. Her insightful pieces have won awards from the Society of Professional Journalists chapters in Utah and Colorado.

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