Best New Chef 2008: Ethan Stowell
Best New Chef 2008: Ethan Stowell

Ethan Stowell

F&W Star Chef » See All F&W Chef Superstars F&W Best New Chef 2008 Ethan Stowell’s steadily-expanding list of Seattle restaurants includes the Italian seafood spot Anchovies & Olives and the rustic, homey How to Cook a Wolf. Here, he talks about his favorite gift ideas, recipes and more for the holidays. What are your favorite holiday gifts for food lovers? Every house should have a meat slicer. Cured meats are underappreciated. There’s a great Italian one sold by a company in Canada called Consiglio’s. They have an 8-inch and a 10-inch. I’ve bought them for a bunch of my friends, they work great. They’re powerful enough to be in a restaurant setting, but they’re not $3,000, and they’re small enough that they can be tucked away in the corner. I also love Scanpans, these high-end, lightweight, nonstick fry pans from Denmark. I use my Scanpan almost every day, whether if it’s making scrambled eggs in the morning, or to sauté a piece of fish at night. It’s supereasy to clean up and it’s durable. Nespresso coffee machines. I like the coffee—I like the taste, it’s always got a nice crema on it. Mine has a built-in steamer, only because I bought a new house and wanted to upgrade. But the old one works great, and it’s just a basic model. What’s your favorite holiday cocktail? Over the holidays, my favorite drink is an old-fashioned. For Christmas I always bring a bottle of Woodford Reserve or Knob Creek and I make old-fashioneds for my brothers and my dad. On Christmas day we just chill out; I cook and watch sports like everybody else, and it’s a nice sipping beverage. It has a little of that holiday in there—the orange, it’s kind of sweet, and it’s really relaxing—you can’t drink it too fast. Can you share one great entertaining tip? Have your kitchen clean before the guests arrive. It makes everything so much better. Nobody wants to have their Christmas dinner start off with a big old sink of pots and pans. When you put a dirty pot out onto the counter, too, that counter space is gone. What are your 5 top don’t-miss places on a holiday visit to Seattle? We always go to Candy Cane Lane, this street in Seattle where every house on this one little cul-de-sac decorates to the nines with Christmas lights. Going down to the outdoor Olympic Sculpture Park is great, that’s a nice little walk. It’s all paved, so it’s not a hard walk, and it’s right along the water. In all honesty, holidays are busy, so we don’t get out a ton. But “The Nutcracker” at the Pacific Northwest Ballet, that’s don’t-miss. For shopping, downtown’s always nice, they do a big tree lighting every year at the Westlake Center, and Pike Place Market is always fun at the holidays. There’s a great kids’ store in Ballard called Clover Toys, I’ve bought some presents for my brothers’ kids there. They don’t have the usual Transformers and G.I. Joe stuff—they have more educational, high-end things like recycling trucks to gets kids thinking more about the important things early on. We bought my nephew this little caddy, like one of those Little Red Flyers but designed just for books, to wheel them around. What’s your most requested recipe, the dish you’re best known for? Around the holidays I do a ton of gnocchi cooking classes. We started doing them a couple of years ago, and for the first one, all 20 slots sold out in two hours, and then I had a 50-person waiting list at the end of the week. What’s your favorite cookbook of all time? The Culinaria series. It’s a compilation of all the European countries. They’ve also done one-offs of the more popular countries like Italy, France and Spain. It’s a great combination of picture book and traditional recipes and history. If you’re going to cook something, you should at least have some historical perspective on it. And the recipes are great. It’s all classic stuff, without a lot of fuss about presentation, more about education and tradition. What’s one technique everyone should know? Making an omelet. An omelet is so versatile, it’s not expensive to make and you can put anything in there: chanterelles, spinach, different kinds of cheese. And it makes a nice appetizer or a great lunch with a side salad. As for technique, for me it’s more about having nice quality eggs, making sure the eggs are from a local farm, free-range. I make mine in a Scanpan. I heat the pan over medium heat, melt a little butter in there, then pour in the whisked eggs. Then it’s not a lot of work because it’s a nonstick pan. Once it’s set, I do the three-fold method: I put the chanterelles or goat cheese or whatever down the middle, then fold over the sides, and then flip it out onto a plate with the seam-side down.2008 Best New Chef Bio Why he won Because, as a self-taught chef, he applies his exceptional home-cooking skills to Pacific Northwest seafood and produce to create delicious, accessible dishes. Born Königstein, Germany; 1974. Experience Lampreia, Nell’s and the Painted Table, Seattle. How ballet influenced his cooking “My parents ran the Pacific Northwest Ballet Company. My mom always said that to be a great dancer, you need discipline and technique. It took years for that to sink in.” Food obsession Uncooked dishes. “I love everything raw right now: toro or kohada [shad], veal carpaccio, beef tartare. I’m not on a raw-food diet, but I think the best thing you can do to a dish is to add a little salt, a little olive oil. Some things need a little pepper or anchovy oil. It’s not a good way to prepare an 18-ounce T-bone, but it is a good way to tell how much respect a kitchen has for the food.”
“This is my twist on spaghetti aglio e olio [spaghetti with garlic and oil], which I personally find boring,” Stowell says. He shakes up the classic pasta dish with plenty of anchovies and crushed red pepper and a scattering of garlicky bread crumbs.More Pasta Recipes Recipe from Food & Wine Best New Chefs All-Star Cookbook.
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Simple Pork Posole
Rating: Unrated
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Mexican posole is typically a thick, hearty soup made with hominy (chewy dried corn kernels with the hull and germ removed). For his version, Ethan Stowell slow-simmers chunks of pork butt in water with onion and garlic to create a dish that's appealingly brothy. He likes to make it with chicharrones (fried pork rinds) and pig's feet, hard-to-find ingredients that are omitted in the recipe here. The array of fun, potently flavorful condiments—jalapeño, onion, cilantro and lime wedges—is key to the dish.More Mexican Recipes
Short Rib Stew
Rating: Unrated
1594
When Ethan Stowell was growing up, his father was the family cook; beef stew was one of his specialties. Unlike his dad, who favored rump roast, Stowell uses short ribs, a marbled cut that turns fabulously succulent and tender when slow-simmered. More Hearty Stew Recipes
Ethan Stowell sticks to Italian tradition when making osso buco, topping braised veal shanks with a citrusy gremolata (orange and lemon zest mixed with garlic and parsley). He advises spooning out and eating all of the marrow from the bones for what he calls "a mouthful of fatty goodness." More Veal Recipes
Ethan Stowell loves mussels all year round, but he's particularly fond of the plump summer ones from Washington's Puget Sound. "I often grab a couple handfuls of mussels at the end of the night and cook them at home for a late-night snack," he says. Here he flavors the briny mussels with lemon juice, fresh herbs and speck, the salty cured ham. More Mussels Recipes
When making most stews, cooks typically brown the meat before braising it; here, Ethan Stowell skips that step, which simplifies the Moroccan recipe and gives the lamb a buttery, melt-in-the-mouth texture. The dish is vibrantly flavored with ginger, cumin, coriander, olives and lemon; the broth is delicious over couscous. Slideshow:  More North African Recipes 
The sauce for this shrimp is a simple version of Italy's salmoriglio, typically made with lemon and herbs in a mortar. The sauce is also delicious spooned over grilled swordfish or any other meaty fish. More Delicious Shrimp Dishes
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Grilling the bread for this panzanella (bread salad) adds a slight smokiness and crunch. Marinate the tomatoes ahead of time so all you have to do is grill the bread and assemble the salad to serve. More Bread Salads
A big, bold, garlicky marinade, made with a whole bunch of fresh rosemary, flavors this juicy roast from Ethan Stowell.
The sauce for this shrimp is a simple version of Italy's salmoriglio, typically made with lemon and herbs in a mortar. The sauce is also delicious spooned over grilled swordfish or any other meaty fish. More Delicious Shrimp Dishes
Grilling the bread for this panzanella (bread salad) adds a slight smokiness and crunch. Marinate the tomatoes ahead of time so all you have to do is grill the bread and assemble the salad to serve. More Bread Salads
A big, bold, garlicky marinade, made with a whole bunch of fresh rosemary, flavors this juicy roast from Ethan Stowell.
Cooks in Italy fry cauliflower to bring out its nuttiness. Here, Ethan Stowell deep-fries it for a salad with salty prosciutto and nubby farro (a variety of whole-grain wheat).
This eggplant Parmesan is all it should be: delicate slices of fried eggplant nestled in a bright, tangy tomato sauce, layered with gooey fresh mozzarella. The best part is the exceptionally crisp topping, made with dry bread crumbs. More Eggplant Recipes
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Cooks in Asia serve hot pots communally, setting a big pot of bubbling broth on the table alongside a platter of raw ingredients (like vegetables and thinly sliced chicken) for dipping. It's a fun way for guests to feel like they have a hand in making their own meal. In his version, Ethan Stowell gives each person at the table an individual bowl of sliced mushrooms, tofu and scallions, then adds piping hot chicken broth loaded with chunks of tender cooked chicken. Fast Asian Recipes
In Italian cuisine, a sugo is a gravy or sauce. Here, Ethan Stowell prepares a pork sugo by braising pork shoulder until it almost falls apart, shredding it in a food processor and mixing it with a red-wine-and-tomato sauce; then he bakes it with orecchiette under a topping of Parmigiano cheese until crispy. The dish is an excellent alternative to the usual baked pasta, because it's not as heavy and cheesy but still delicious and satisfying. More Baked Pasta Recipes