Foraged Dinner with Chrysa Robertson and Hank Shaw at Rancho Pinot
|crispy guarijio squash blossom|
It was a perfect pairing: The local chef who kickstarted Slow Food in Phoenix and made her name by featuring dishes based on local, seasonal food with the avid forager, hunter, angler who shared his know how in cooking and eating from the wild.
The first treat, starring mulberries collected from Chrysa's aunt's yard, was Travis Nass's Mulberry Elixir Aperitif served with a golden pinon studded savory wafer. At the table, the appetizer plate featured crispy, stuffed Guarijio squash blossoms from Maya's Farm, surrounded by sweet-n-sour I'itoi onions, sautéed Shishito peppers, acorn meal piadini, and
More from the Foraged Feast dinner at Rancho Pinot after the jump.
|blue corn meal crusted New Mexico trout|
|mesquite grilled quail|
|mesquite flour crepes|
We could have easily been satisfied with a finish from Black Mesa Ranch fresh Chevre served with wild pecan honey from Northern Arizona, and sweet-n-spicy pecans from Carol Steele's Aravaipa Farm. But the sweet dessert following the cheese course included mesquite flour crepes, local peach ice cream dusted with Sonoran Chiltepin pepper, and a prickly pear (also from Chrysa's yard)-mesquite honey sauce kept us tasting. The Chiltepin pepper added more heat than expected, ramping up the complexity of flavor in an expected crepe, ice cream, and sweet sauce dessert.
The casual atmosphere of the evening allowed Chrysa and Hank to reach out to every diner to answer questions about sourcing local wild food and offer tips for cooking with ingredients like acorn and mesquite flour, Cholla buds, nopales, and tepary beans. Each course was a blend of the familiar with incorporated wild ingredients, native to the Sonoran desert and its bordering regions.
We left knowing we will look at the Cholla buds in our neighbor's yard with a coveting eye.