Arugula Proves Eating Local Is Delicious in Any Season

March 9 2010, 10:53 AM
Conscientious diners throughout the metro area seek out dishes that feature local, seasonal produce, but how often do they find entire menus comprised of local ingredients? Locavores were delighted when Arugula Bar e Ristorante recently met that challenge with a Slow Food Boulder winter dinner, held at a time when local produce is perceived as sparse. Chef Alec Schuler pulled off an incredible event, which included ingredients such as home-canned Toohey Farm heirloom-tomato sauce over delicate, buttery tilapia farmed in Colorado. House-cured lomo made from Long Family Farm pork and tender Colorado's Best Beef Company bresaola also took starring roles, upstaged only slightly by the accompanying earthy Grant Family Farm beets, pickled Red Wagon Organic Farm shallots, and HeartEye Village CSA yellow beans. Munson Farms squash was tucked into delicate homemade ravioli, crowned with sautéed Hazel Dell mushrooms, roasted Toohey Farm kabocha squash, and a savory brown butter accented with sage grown in Schuler's own garden. The piece de resistance was the Colorado's Best slowly braised beef shank in marrow butter paired with Infinite Monkey Theorem's 2008 Malbec. The meal ended sweetly with house-canned Ela Family Farms Western Slope peach coulis garnishing a velvety Haystack Mountain goat cheesecake. Start to finish, Schuler proved that, with some planning, enjoying Colorado's bounty is possible even in the dead of winter. Bonus: A quick scan of Arugula's menu indicates that chef Schuler is always mindful of local and seasonal cuisine, not just when planning for a Slow Food event. 2785 Iris Ave., Boulder, 303-443-5100