Alice Waters calls it "the restaurant I always imagined." Chef/founder/land artist Jim Denevan calls it "a roving culinary circus." Outstanding in the Field
is a nomadic restaurant with a mission to reconnect diners to the land. In this era of enlightened eating, we are all familiar with Farm to Table dinners. Outstanding in the Field
goes one step further and brings the Table to the Farm. OTIF came to my hometown last night, and by serendipity, I landed a seat at the table.
Despite the hot sun, I was struck with a case of goosebumps as I approached the iconic OITF table. I watched the staff meticulously arrange glassware in a line reaching up to the Grand, as the Mead Ranch pasture was transformed into a locavore's dream dinner party.
Jim Denevan: Artist, chef, founder of OITF.
is an artist who creates temporary drawings on sand, ice, and earth. Last night in Jackson Hole, the Mead Ranch pasture was his canvas; the table, the food, and the people were his art.
Wyoming cucumber "noodles" with shiso, mint, ponzu, and hemps seeds was the knockout first course.
OITF draws people from all over--creating an eclectic mix of locals and visitors. I soon learned about the Field Heads--groupies that follow OITF as they tour the world, setting up their long table in vineyards and barns, community gardens and museums, on beaches and in sea caves, and on ranches.
Meet my table mates Lynn and Bryan; when not working as an insurance executive, Bryan grows an astounding crop of fruit in his suburban Dallas Fort Worth yard.
There was ample time before dinner to tour the ranch, sample Teton Valley Creamery cheeses, Thai Me Up brewery's homegrown beers, and Eric Wilson's smoked steelhead trout crostini.
Chef Eric Wilson finishes his smoked steelhead trout crostini with radish slivers.
Diners brought more than their own plates to the table (an OITF tradition). There was a palpable appreciation for the farmers, the chefs, the waitstaff, the bakers, the winemakers, the cheese makers, and the brewers. Oh, and let us not forget the whiskey makers: Wyoming Whiskey was on hand to give diners a taste of the Mead family's spirits.
Sitting down to dinner, family style platters of food flowed from the nomadic outdoor kitchen. All were paired with wine from Niner Wine Estates, a Paso Robles winemaker with local ties: Pam and Dick Niner's daughter Katy lives in Jackson Hole.
Pam and Katy Niner of Niner Wine Estates.
I couldn't help having seconds of Aspens Market chef Joel Cox's Sweet Corn Farrotto with Mascarpone, Garlic Scapes and Grilled Corn. Farro is a barley-like pearl of wheat that here is cooked risotto style. I tinkered all day to bring you the recipe; it's easy and perfect for now.
Sweet corn farrotto with mascarpone, garlic scapes and grilled corn was the highlight of my meal.
Local foodie and photographer Annie Ruttle shares a toast with our new friends Grace and Shiho.
Grace, Shiho and Carrie are from New York City, but have quickly become smitten with Jackson Hole.
Besty, Meredith and our very own local chef Chippy (from Chippy's Kitchen in Wilson) soak up the OITF vibes.
Our übertalented server Cara pouring a Niner Syrah to go with the Mead Ranch mixed grill and salsa verde, as local juicemaker Sarah looks on.
Marion and DeeAnne Robinson from Robinson Family Farm and Ranch contributed pork for the porchetta, and vegetables for the honey glazed turnips and braised greens.
It was great to see hardworking farmers DeeAnne and Marion sitting down to enjoy the meal.
Brad and Kate Mead graciously hosted the OITF crew and guests on their family ranch on Spring Gulch Road.
By the time chef Joel came out with his crew to take a bow, we were all dreaming of becoming Field Heads, ready to follow OITF to their next gig in Colorado (tomorrow at Copper Bar Ranch, if you are free.)
And by the time the sun dipped behind the butte, and the Persephone berry and marzipan tart was passed around, I realized this was more than just a dinner party. Denevan had brought people and place together with food and drink in an event that could only be described as art. Art that nudges you to see the world just a bit differently. Art that's as fleeting as a beautiful summer night in Jackson Hole.
Ali Cohane's Marzipan Berry Tart was savored with the last of the Niner Syrah.
Sweet Corn Farrotto with Mascarpone, Garlic Scapes, and Grilled Corn
My recipe for farrotto is based on the one I had at the Hotel Monaco bar in Salt Lake City. The basic recipe is easily adaptable to Joel Cox's grilled corn and garlic scape version, or anything else you might dream up.
- 1 cup farro
- 5 cups chicken broth
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 cup diced onion (or 1 diced shallot)
- 1/2 dry white wine
- 2 ears of fresh corn, husked
- 2 garlic scapes, one cut into 2 inch pieces, the other diced
- 2 Tbsp. mascarpone cheese
- Kosher salt, pepper and grated Parmesan, to finish
I am happy to have a recipe that puts my pile of garlic scapes to good use.
- Place farro in a large bowl and cover with water. Soak for at least 30 minutes and up to several hours. Drain.
- Place soaked farro in a heavy medium saucepan. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Simmer gently for 20-30 minutes, or until it is tender but still chewy. (At high altitude, you may need a full 30 minutes.)
- While the farro is cooking, heat the grill, husk the corn, and brush it with olive oil. Sprinkle the corn with Kosher salt, and grill for about 2 minutes on each side, or until the corn is charred in spots. Once cool, cut the kernels from the cob.
- Drain the farro, reserving the chicken broth in a bowl.
- Using the same pan, heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic scapes and sauté until starting to brown. Set aside.
- In the same pan, sauté the onion with a pinch of salt. After 5 minutes, add the white wine, cooking for another 5 minutes until the wine is reduced.
- Add the farro and 1 cup of the reserved broth. Stir constantly over low heat until it takes on a risotto-like consistency, adding more broth as needed.
- Stir in the mascarpone cheese, a few tablespoons of grated Parmesan, the corn and the garlic scapes. Season with salt and pepper, and serve.
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Susan Lykes was my date; same time next year, Susan?