The Top 10 Recipes From Ski Town Restaurants

Feb 2, 2010
Outside Magazine

When visiting one of the best ski towns in North America, it's worth it to splurge on a meal in one of the country's best restaurants. But these days such trips are in short supply, so what can you do? Not much, unless you have a recipe.  I gathered up my foodie friends, who all ski, and asked them where they head for a first rate meal after a day on the slopes. Then I contacted the chefs at those restaurants and asked for their favorite recipes. The result is a list of the best recipes from the 10 best ski town restaurants in North America. All are ultra-decadent dishes, perfect for recovery. Because if nothing else, cold weather is the perfect excuse to bring on the heavy cream!

--Amy Silverman

10. Hen of the Wood. Waterbury, Vermont
Any place that The New York Times food writer, Mark Bittman, describes as "near-joy" is on my must-go-to list. Housed in a former mill, Hen of the Wood changes its menu seasonally to take advantage of local ingredients.
Photo courtesy of Hen of the Wood

Local Parsnip Soup (serves 4)
1 spanish onion, sliced
1 lb parsnips, roughly chopped
1 Idaho potato, chopped
2 sprigs of thyme
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1/2 lemon

1. Gently cook the onion on low heat for about 10 minutes, trying not to brown the onion at all. Season with the salt.
2. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for another minute or so.
3. Add the parsnips and potato and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until the parsnips and potatoes are very tender.
4. Remove the thyme sprigs.
5. Squeeze the lemon into the soup.
6. Puree in a blender on high speed and then push through a fine strainer.
7. Serve immediately or chill and reheat when necessary.
*Chef's suggestion: Serve with a small piece of grilled bread topped with some local Vermont blue cheese and drizzled with olive oil.

9. Relish
. Breckenridge, Colorado
Relish bills itself as Colorado-inspired cuisine, and this dish is a local favorite. You'll be eating leftovers for a week. 

Colorado Lamb Meatloaf with Porcini Mountain Gorgonzola Mac-n-Cheese and Spring Morel Gravy

Meat Loaf:
5 lbs ground lamb
1 medium yellow onion, diced small
1 carrot, diced small
1 rib celery, diced small
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 Tbsp dry thyme
1/2 Tbsp dry oregano
1/3 Tbsp dry basil
1/2 Tbsp dry tarragon
5 eggs
1 cup milk
2 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
Ketchup, grain mustard, honey and white balsamic vinegar for glaze.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Saute onion, carrots, celery until translucent. Add in garlic and cook 20 seconds, then cool.
Combine all ingredients in a tabletop mixer using the paddle attachment and mix on low for 2 minutes and on high for 30 seconds.
Form into 10 equal individual loaves
Bake at 375 for approximately 35 minutes (until 160 degrees on meat thermometer) At minute 20, glaze with a mixture of ketchup, grain mustard, honey and white balsamic vinegar.

1 1/2 lbs small pasta shells or elbow macaroni
2 Tbsp dried shallot
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cup white wine
1 Tbsp porcini mushroom powder
1 qt heavy cream
1 1/2 cup mountain gorgonzola
Salt and pepper to taste
Breadcrumbs and grated Asiago Romano cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Cook pasta in boiling water. Saute shallot and garlic in 1/2  oz olive oil until translucent. Add white wine and cook until it is reduced by 2/3 its volume. Add in porcini powder and heavy cream. Bring to a boil and reduce to 3 cups in volume. Season with salt and pepper and fold in gorgonzola, cook until melted. Combine pasta with cream sauce in a large bowl, mix well. Place mac-n-cheese in your favorite casserole dish, sprinkle with bread crumbs and asiago romano cheese. Bake at 350-375 degrees until golden brown and bubbly.

Morel Mushroom Gravy:
2 cups sliced morel mushrooms (any wild mushrooms will do)
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup red wine
2 tsp worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp fresh oregano
3 cups store bought demi glace (we make our own)

Saute mushrooms in butter until 1/2 its original volume. Add in wine, sherry, worcestershire and cook down by 2/3 original volume. Add in demi glace, honey and oregano. Cook to heavy gravy consistency.

8. Log Haven. Salt Lake City, Utah
Log Haven is the kind of place where people have weddings or propose to future spouses. The building has a long storied history, and was almost torn down in the late 80s. Lucky for us it was saved!
Photo courtesy of Log Haven
Quinoa Crusted Crab Cakes with pine nuts, grapefruilt vinaigrette, grapefruit supremes and micro greens
(serves 6)

Crab cakes:
16 oz Dungeness crab
4 oz. raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, tail removed
1 egg white
3 Tbsp Mayonnaise
1/2 juiced lemon
2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
2 Tbsp chopped Italian parsley
Salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste

Puree the shrimp in a food processor with the egg whites until smooth and creamy. Then, gently mix the rest of the ingredients together in a bowl and refrigerate until needed.

Quinoa flour:
1/2 cup quinoa (toasted and cooked)
1 Tbsp flour
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 pinch onion powder
1 pinch dry mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Grapefruit vinaigrette:
1 cup fresh grapefruit reduced to 1/3 cup (frozen concentrate could be an option)
1 teaspoon champagne vinegar
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 juiced lemon
1 finely diced shallot
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 sprig chopped thyme
1 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper to taste
Mix the ingredients together until emulsified

1 sectioned grapefruit
2-3 Tbsp toasted pine nuts
1/2 oz. micro green or basil leaves

Dredge the crab cakes in the quinoa flour and sauté 3-4 minutes per side in a little olive oil or butter. Serve with the garnishes and vinaigrette.

7. Snake River Grill. Jackson, Wyoming
Maybe I'm biased because Chef Jeff Drew spent seven years at the helm of Santa Fe's Coyote Cafe before heading to Wyoming, but Snake River Grill is truly an institution—and with good reason. It's consistently mentioned as the best place to eat in Jackson.

Photo courtesy of Snake River Grill Potato Pancake with Smoked Salmon
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 Idaho potatoes, peeled
1/2 large white onion
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
3 teaspoons lemon juice

Grate the potatoes and onion on a large hole box grater. Combine, then add salt and pepper. Squeeze potato mixture in hands very hard to remove all excess starch and moisture. Add flour and lemon juice. Mix well by hand.

To cook, use an 8 inch, flat sauté pan. Add 2 oz. clarified butter or corn oil. Add a tennis ball size mound of potato pancake mixture to the pan. Spread out by hand to form a round 8 inch shape. Cook over high heat until golden brown. Flip using a spatula that will aid in removing anything that might stick to the pan and cook the other side for another 4-5 minutes or until toasted brown in color.

Shallot sour cream:
1 cup sour cream
4 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp cracked black pepper

Combine all ingredients and mix well.

After the potato pancake is completely cooked, cover with 2 tablespoons of the shallot sour cream and spread evenly. Garnish the pancake with quality, cold smoked salmon and sprinkle with diced chives.

6. Allred's. Telluride, Colorado
Allred's is located on the mountain above the village of Telluride, which makes for a classic experience. Arrive by gondola before dark to take in the incredible views. This dish seems like a perfect follow-up to a active day out in the cold. (Just make sure you start cooking early enough.)

Bacon Bean Casserole
4 cups bean mix (canned beans of your choice)
1 1/2 cups black beans
2 oz butter
1/2 cup cooked bacon, broken into small pieces
1/2 lbs high quality chorizo, cooked
1/2 cup whole roasted garlic
1 1/2 Tbsp total of fresh thyme, rosemary, sage, parsley
1 teaspoon fresh toasted ground coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Stir all ingredients together and mix well. Place in cast iron pot and bake at 350 degrees for 3 hours. Remove from oven and let cool in refrigerator for 2 hours.

5. 350 Main. Park City, Utah
The most popular dish at 350 Main is an ambitious recipe from simple origins. Chef Michael LeClerc got his inspiration from a time when cowboys packed their meat in used coffee grounds while out on the trail. The acid in the coffee acted as an antibacterial and preserved the meat, and, incidentally, added a distinct flavor. Read the whole recipe before you start!

Coffee Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Tomato Bearnaise, Butter Roasted Carrots and Black Truffle Mashed Potatoes (serves 4)
Photo courtesy of 350 Main Coffee Crust:
Mix together
1/2 cup unbrewed, ground coffee (we use decaf)
1/4 cup coarse black pepper (ground pepper is fine also)
3 Tbsp coarse salt

Black Truffle Mashed Potatoes:
2 lbs Idaho russet potatoes
1/2 cup milk
1/4 lb butter
2 Tbsp truffle oil
Salt and black pepper to taste

Boil potatoes until tender, then mash. Bring milk and butter to a boil and blend into the cooked potatoes. Add truffle oil, salt and pepper. Keep warm.

Braised Greens:
2 heads red swiss chard
2 heads kale
Pick the leaves of both greens. Wash, drain and blanch in boiling, salted water for 3 minutes. Drain and cool under cold water. Drain again.

Butter Roasted Carrots:
1 lb carrot sticks
1/2 stick butter, cut into cubes
salt and pepper
Boil carrots for 8-10 minutes until cooked but still firm (al dente). Drain. Place carrots in a baking dish and add butter, salt and pepper. See below- Final Preparation.

Sauteed Forest Mushrooms:
1 lb assorted wild mushrooms, brushed clean of any visible dirt and sliced (do not wash)
1 red onion thinly sliced

Tomato Bearnaise Sauce:
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp chopped basil
1/4 cup white vinegar
4 egg yolks
8 oz melted butter
salt and pepper

1. Simmer the tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, and 1/2 cup water for 10 minutes.
2. Put egg yolks, vinegar and 2 Tbsp water in a stainless steel mixing bowl and place over a pot of simmering water.
3. Whip constantly with a flexible whip until the eggs start to thicken and reach 120 degrees.
4. Add the tomato mixture and whip together with salt and pepper.
5. Slowly drizzle the melted butter into the egg mixture, whipping constantly.
6. When finished, the sauce should be thick and must be kept warm but not too hot (approx. 140 degrees) while dinner is prepared.

Final Preparation:
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees
2. Heat a thick bottomed, oven-proof skillet (cast iron works great for this)
3. Roll the pork tenderloin in the coffee mixture.
4. Add a little oil to the skillet and sear the pork 3-4 minutes per side.
5. Place in the oven and place carrots in the oven as well.
6. Sauté the greens and the mushrooms as the pork is cooking, then keep warm.
7. Remove pork and carrots from the oven. Set out 4 dinner plates and put a spoonful of mashed potatoes on each. Then make small piles of the mushrooms, carrots and greens; pour some bearnaise sauce on each plate and finally top with the pork tenderloin.
8. If you did all that, pour yourself a nice glass of hearty red wine and enjoy!

4. Splendido. Beaver Creek, Colorado
Splendido is that "special occasion" kind of place that really defines fine dining. Thankfully, Chef David Walford has a cookbook that just came out so you can give it the Julie & Julia treatment.

Alaskan Halibut with prosciutto, cannellini beans and parsley-olive salad (serves 6)
Photo courtesy of Splendido
Parsley Sauce:
1 bunch Italian parsley, leaves only
1 clove garlic
1/4- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1. In a blender, puree the parsley leaves with the garlic clove and 1/4 cup olive oil until it is smooth and pourable. You may need to add more olive oil to reach the right consistency. Set Aside.

Cannellini Beans
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cups cooked white beans, drained (fresh or canned)
1/4 cup cream
2 Tbsp fresh marjoram leaves
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
salt and ground white pepper to taste
1/2 cup loosely packed spinach leaves, sliced about 1/4 inch wide

1. In a heavy 2-quart saucepan, cook the sliced garlic with the olive oil, stirring often, until the garlic is lightly toasted.
2. Immediately add the beans, cream and marjoram
3. In a small skillet over medium-high heat, add the butter and cook until it turns golden brown, watching it closely to avoid burning the butter. Stir this into the bean mixture and let the beans simmer a few minutes.
4. Season to taste with salt and pepper and then stir in the spinach. Set aside and keep warm.

6  5-oz skinless Alaskan Halibut fillets (preferred) or any nice fresh white fish fillet
salt and ground black pepper to taste
6 paper thin slices prosciutto
Extra virgin olive oil

1. preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Lightly season the fish fillets with salt and pepper. Wrap 1 slice of prosciutto around the middle of each fillet so the ham overlaps on the bottom of the fillet.
3. Heat a nonstick oven-safe sauté pan over medium heat with the olive oil. Gently cook the fish, top side down first, turning it over and finishing it in the 425 degree oven. 3-5 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillets. Watch the fish closely; it should be just barely done. Halibut tends to overcook easily.

Lemon Confit:
2 lemons
3/4 cup white wine
1 teaspoon salt

1. With a vegetable peeler, peel strips from the lemon's outermost rind or "zest." Slice the strips into thin 1-inch long pieces.
2. Put the strips in a saucepan with the white wine and salt and bring to a simmer. Leave this to cook slowly for 10 minutes and then drain, setting aside the lemon confit strips.

Parsley-Olive Salad:
1 cup loosely packed Italian parsley leaves (about 1 bunch)
1 cup olives, pitted and sliced (Gaeta, Picholine, or any good firm green or black olive)
1/4 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Extra virgin olive oil, to taste
Lemon juice, to taste

1. Combine the parsley, olives, red bell pepper and shallot in a salad bowl.
2. Add 2 Tbsp of the thinly sliced lemon confit, a bit of salt and pepper, a little olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Toss the parsley-olive salad to distribute well.

To Finish:
1. Dollop about 1/4 cup of the beans in the center of each warm plate and spoon a circle of parsley sauce around the beans.
2. Place a fish fillet on top of the bean mixture and then arrange some parsley-olive salad on top of each portion and serve.

3. Bearfoot Bistro. Whistler, BC
Chef Melissa Craig is up in Whistler winning awards for her "modern Canadian cuisine." The food alone sounds incredible, but owner Andre Saint-Jacques takes the restaurant to another level by offering cooking classes with Chef Craig, a world class wine cellar, and a Champagne Lounge with its own menu. If you happen to be watching the Olympics from home this winter, make this dish in honor of western Canada.
Photo courtesy of Bearfoot Bistro
Pan Seared Vancouver Island Blackcod with Miso Palm Sugar Glaze , Shemiji Mushrooms and Edamame (serves 4)

4 (3-oz) portions of Vancouver Island Blackcod (sablefish)
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
7 oz shemiji mushrooms
3 oz enoki mushrooms
2 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup shelled edamame
Micro radish sprout for garnish

Miso Palm Sugar Glaze:
4 Tbsp sake
1 Tbsp mirin (sweet rice wine)
3 Tbsp palm sugar
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1/2 tsp English mustard powder
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1/2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
1/2 cup white miso paste

Begin by making the sauce, which can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for a few weeks. In a heavy bottom sauce pan, bring the sake, mirin and palm sugar to a boil, making sure the sugar dissolves. Make a paste with the vinegar and mustard powder and add this mixture to the sake. Remove from heat and whisk in all other ingredients. Adjust seasonings- you may need to add more mirin if too salty, depending on the brand of miso paste.

Preheat oven to 400F. In an oven safe pan, heat vegetable oil. When almost smoking, place fish flesh side down. When golden brown, turn onto skin side and place in oven with butter. Depending on the thickness of the fish, this should take no more than 5-6 minutes in the oven. While the blackcod is in the oven, sauté the shemiji and enoki mushrooms in a bit of butter and finish with salt, pepper, finely sliced green onions and shelled edamame. To plate, place 1/2 Tbsp of miso sauce on plate, forming a circle. Spoon mushroom mixture onto sauce and gently top with the blackcod. In the restaurant, we garnish this dish with micro greens, radish or a spicy peppercress. This dish also works great with seared rare tuna or himachi.

2. The Love Apple. Taos, NM
The Love Apple takes its name from a 16th century french term for tomato—how sweet is that? And it's in an amazing old church! I'm just glad it's a short drive away because the food is out of this world. This recipe is a Love Apple staple, inspired by an Alice Waters recipe. The fried egg/red chile combination is a New Mexico tradition.

Roasted Squash with Red Chile Mole:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Cut 3 Carnival or Acorn Squash in half and remove seeds. Place, cut side down on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 40 minutes or until squash is tender to the touch and beginning to brown.

Begin preparing chiles:
Seed and stem 4 ounces of dried red chiles. Boil enough water to cover chiles and remove water from heat. Soak chiles in boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain and puree chiles. (You may also use frozen, red chile puree, if you are able to find it locally. In this case, substitute 2 cups thawed red chile puree.)

Meanwhile, Saute in 1/2 cup olive oil:
1 yellow onion, sliced
2 Tbsp garlic

Once lightly browned, add:
Either 3 slices day-old french bread or 2 day old cornbread muffins (we use cornbread at the restaurant),  crumbled
1/4 cup pinon seeds (pine nuts)
1/4 cup pepitas (toasted pumpkin seeds)
1/2 cup currants
1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
Continue cooking until golden, about 20 minutes and then remove from heat. Once cool, puree in Cuisinart or food processor. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine:
Red chile puree, from above
2 cups fresh, frozen or canned tomatoes with juice
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh marjoram, finely chopped
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp allspice
1 oz. Mexican Ibara chocolate, chopped
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp salt

Combine the sauté from above with the chile-tomato and mix until the mole is well combined.
To serve, place the squash, cut side up on the serving plate. Slather the squash with 2 Tbsp good quality, local if possible, chevre (goat cheese). Pour 1 cup of mole over the squash and top with a fried egg. We serve the dish with creme fraiche (sour cream would work as well) and cilantro to cool the heat of the chiles.

1. Six89. Carbondale, Colorado
Six89 is a restaurant that's more than just a restaurant. It's a whole philosophy about food and community and eating and ingredients. So, try the recipe, but you may have to leave the actual resort and head to Carbondale. You won't regret it.

Gnocchi Salad
Photo courtesy of Six89Goat cheese gnocchi:
1 1/2 lb Potatoes, Yukons or Russets
11 oz goat cheese
1/2 cup reggiano cheese, grated
1/2 cup fresh oregano, chopped
3 eggs
24 oz cake flour
2 Tbsp Kosher salt
1 Tbsp black pepper

Bake potatoes and cool slightly. Peel and grate potatoes (about 1.5 lbs grated) while still warm into a mixing bowl. Mix in cheeses, herbs, eggs, flour, salt and pepper and stir until the dough comes together, adding a little more flour to make the dough easy to handle if necessary. Do not add too much flour or the dough will become tough. Remove to a cutting board and knead by hand until the dough is smooth. Let rest for 30 minutes.

Roll ropes or dowels of the dough approximately 1/2 inch thick and cut into 1-inch pieces. Roll each piece with the back tines of a fork to form cute little ridges. Blanch in salted water, drain and chill. Toss with olive oil and remove to a container. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Oregano Vinaigrette:
1 cup shallots, chopped
1/2 cup dijon mustard
1 cup fresh oregano
1 cup champagne vinegar
3 cups extra virgin olive oil
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Mix the shallots, mustard, herbs and vinegar together. Add salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil to emulsify. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Photo courtesy of Six89

For the dish:
2 tsp Olive Oil
1 tsp butter
2 Tbsp minced shallots
4 cups gnocchi
4 cups sliced wild mushrooms (chanterelles, cepes, morels, trumpets)
4 cups winter squash, diced and roasted
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
oregano vinaigrette
8 cups mixed baby lettuces
White truffle oil

To serve: Heat butter and oil in a heavy bottom skillet until nutty brown. Add shallots to 4 cup gnocchi. Cook stirring often, until the gnocchi begins to color lightly. Add mushrooms and cook until soft. Add cooked squash and heat through. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper and dress with vinaigrette. Grate additional reggiano over the top and drizzle with white truffle oil.

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