Handle bridges the gap between mountain town living and big city eating. No, not all of us ski town dwellers survive on breakfast burritos and PBR, nor do we sustain ourselves solely on steak and baked potatoes despite what the crowds at the local steak house might suggest.
When people ask me what I miss about living in the city (I migrated back to the mountains after a 6 year stint fighting traffic in Seattle), my only response is, “the food.”
For me, there is a certain and appealing sense of sophistication and thoughtfulness to restaurants in big cities like Seattle, New York, and Los Angeles. I am not sure whether it’s the gritty sense of authenticity at the hole-in-the-wall Indian restaurant, or the incredibly sustainable process of sourcing produce and meats at the local bistro, but I get an eating experience in the city that is unparalleled by that in small mountain towns. And that’s not to say that we aren’t fortunately surrounded by incredible restaurants in the Mountain West. It could be just a feeling about the city, the decor of a place, the variety and intrigue of new and different dishes – or it could just be the absence of flannel shirts and flip flops. I wouldn’t trade life in the mountains for anything, but boy do I crave some “big city” dinners now and then.
Handle, which first opened doors to diners in Park City, UT., and now has a sister location in Salt Lake City, somehow satisfies my cravings. Both of their locations have just the right balance of modern decor and dining at your mother’s house appeal. Its the kind of place that begs you to sit at the bar and drink a classy cocktail before sitting down for dinner. Each dish could be a work of art, but there is no pretentious air to anything they serve. They serve generous portions of really good food made with seasonal ingredients, prepared simply and thoughtfully.
If you can’t get there in person to try the Lavash with dry aged beef tartare, the house pickled root vegetables, or the wood burnt pork shank, try this recipe for Handle Salt Lake’s Signature Grilled Broccoli* in your own kitchen.
*Recipe adapted from original for ease of in-home preparation.
- 3 cups Broccoli Florets, blanched, then tossed in a dash of olive oil and pinch of salt
- Pickled peppers and red onion (from recipe below)
- 1/3 cup Horseradish Vinaigrette (recipe below)
- 2 Tsp each freshly chopped cilantro, chervil, chives, Italian parsley, and basil
- 2 Tbsp melted butter
- 2 1/2 oz. Vegetable Stock
- 1/3 Cup Bacon, cooked until slightly crispy and diced into small pieces
- 1 Fennel Bulb, julienned thin
- 1/4 cup Almond Slivers, toasted golden brown
- Salt & Pepper, to taste
Place a medium size sauté pan over medium-high heat to warm. Mix broccoli florets, pickled onions and peppers, 2 oz horseradish vinaigrette, fresh herbs, butter, vegetable stock, bacon, fennel and a pinch of salt together in a large bowl. Place all ingredients in sauté pan, cover and cook for 40-50 seconds. Uncover, stir and cook for another minute or two, or until just the broccoli is heated through and slightly tender.
Remove from heat and top with toasted almonds and fresh ground black pepper. Serve warm.
Pickled Fresno Peppers and Red Onions:
- 1/2 Cup Fresno Peppers, deseeded and julienned
- 1 Medium Red Onion, julienned
- 1 Cup Rice Wine Vinegar
- ½ Cup Sugar
- 1/2 cup Water
Combine vinegar, sugar, water, and a couple pinches of salt in a small sauce pot. Cook over medium heat until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Place the peppers and onions in a heat-proof bowl. Pour the hot liquid over the peppers and the red onions. Cover and place in refrigerator to cool.
- 1/4 Cup Prepared Horseradish
- 1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
- 1 1/2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
- 2/3 Cup Grapeseed Oil
- 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Shallots, finely chopped
- 1 Large Garlic Clove, finely chopped
- 2 Tsp Dijon Mustard
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
In a small sauce pan sauté the shallots and garlic until soft (use a little grapeseed oil or butter for the pan). Place the shallots, garlic, horseradish, maple syrup, vinegar and dijon mustard in a standing blender and puree until smooth. With the blender running slowly drizzle in the grapeseed and olive oil until emulsified. Add in the salt and pepper. Taste and adjust as necessary.
This recipe makes more dressing than you will need for the broccoli. Save the rest and use for salads or seconds!