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Spring Vegetable Mosaic from Hasbrouck House’s Butterfield

by Kelli Kehler

When our team visited Grace in upstate New York for our D*S retreat, we stayed at the incredible at Stone Ridge — a lovely old building that was built in the 1700s as a Dutch colonial mansion and now serves as a small boutique hotel. One of the trip’s highlights included gathering for a delicious meal at , the restaurant at Hasbrouck House. We caught up with each other while eating beautiful dishes comprised of local, seasonal produce grown in the Hudson Valley, conceptualized by Butterfield’s Executive Chef, Aaron Abramson. The attention to detail of both the food and the ambiance at was not lost on us, and today we are thrilled to speak with Chef Aaron about his food philosophy, his past year and a half spent at Butterfield, and a stunning recipe for a Spring Vegetable Mosaic.

Chef Aaron’s recipe (after the short Q&A) can be assembled easily with whatever fresh produce you have on hand, or whatever you find calling your name at your local farm stand, so don’t be afraid to create your own riff on Butterfield’s mosaic. —

Photography by , except where noted


Image above by Will and Susan Brinson

Design*Droits-Humains: How did working for HH/Butterfield come about? What led you here?
Chef Aaron Abramson: I was working in Westchester at Blue Hill at Stone Barns. I fell in love with the region and produce. I wanted to find a small restaurant where I could cook food that I wanted to cook. I did a tasting for an interview for some people in the Boston area for a job which I ended up not taking. It turns out those people were friends with the owners here at Hasbrouck House. And when they were looking for a chef here, I was recommended. It just goes to show when doing an interview; give your best effort regardless of if you are interested in the job or not.

What inspires you when it comes to creating a menu?
Most chefs create menus and then source the ingredients. I source ingredients first and create the menu based on the ingredients we acquire. I love the amazing produce from this region and all the things that can be done in unique and creative ways. I am continuously inspired by the farmers here in the Hudson Valley.


Image above by Will and Susan Brinson

What’s your most memorable experience at Butterfield so far?
Having my family come eat here. I have traveled around a lot over the past 15 years and worked at a lot of different restaurants. For them to see all the hard work and everything I have learned while missing out on many family events; that was a nice feeling.

If you could describe the mood/feeling of the restaurant, what words would you use?
Casual, luxury, elegance

What do you want patrons to come away thinking after they’ve eaten at Butterfield?
The food was very representative of Hudson Valley cuisine.


Image above by Will and Susan Brinson

How do you motivate your cooking/kitchen staff to do amazing work?
I try to motivate them by working as hard as possible. To show them that I am not above anything. Wash dishes, clean the floors, etc. I think when they see me working hard, they want to work hard. Additionally, I like to include them in the tasting and creative process. I feel that the ability to allow the cooks to be creative keeps them interested and excited.


Image above: Sous Chef LeVaughn Craddock

Spring Vegetable Mosaic Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 Pound Peas
  • 1 Bunch Asparagus
  • 3 Pounds Red and Yellow Beets
  • 6 Each fiddlehead Ferns
  • 2 Heads Black Garlic
  • 2 Bunches Spinach
  • 2 Bunches Swiss Chard
  • 1 Bunch Baby Carrots
  • Baby Lettuces for Garnish
  • Edible Flowers for Garnish

Preparation

1

Method

The ingredients can be cooked any way you’d like. Sauteed, roasted, steamed, grilled, etc. The important part is to not overcook them and season them nicely with salt and a nice vinaigrette. Dress the plate in an artistic and beautiful way and garnish with baby greens and flowers.

Image above: From left to right, Sous Chef LeVaughn Craddock, Executive Chef Aaron Abramson, and Pastry Chef Tiffany Verney outside of Butterfield.

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Comments

  • While charming, it would be a tickle to have more of a recipe than: “find vegetables. cook however you like. Put them on a plate and make them pretty”. I suspect there is a little craft happening even there, though.

    It’s a very chef–y thing to say, and I’m sure I could manage it! One person with kitchen skills and a knowledge of their own tastes to another, no? It’s nice to be reminded that sometimes all you have to to to make restaurant-worthy food is cook a collection of raw things in the manner most intuitive to you, with the seasoning you prefer. The challenge is dealing with things where that technique doesn’t reliably yield good results, but surely a good meal out benefits from a little professional mystique.

  • great inspiration for using whatever local ingredients are available (and was that rhubarb in the first picture?) love the idea of letting the ingredients stand by themselves, but it is important to have the skills or technique to at least pair the right stuff together to bring out a balanced dish, easier said than done but great inspiration here to give it a go, thank you for this wonderful tour of Hasbrouck House and interview with chef Abramson

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