Green Giants

Valley restaurants show that The Cowboy State knows how to grow greens as well as cows.

Green Giants

Valley restaurants show that The Cowboy State knows how to grow greens as well as cows.

By Joohee Muromcew
Photography by Ryan Dorgan

Lotus’ organic and gluten-free Kale-Avocado Salad keeps it simple: The dish features baby kale leaves and sliced avocado topped with Caesar dressing.

JACKSON HOLE CUISINE has come a long way from dude-ranch cowboy fare. This valley loves to eat and eat well—with locally grown produce and meats always a priority, and leafy green salads on nearly every menu. Here are our favorite green giants:


Teton Salad at Rendezvous Bistro

Fine Dining Restaurant Group’s Gavin Fine could teach a master class in customer satisfaction at Rendezvous Bistro. A local favorite for every occasion from quick bar bites to graduation dinners, the Bistro’s French-American menu changes just enough to encourage regulars to try something different, while never losing sight of what keeps their menu favorites so popular. Relatively new to their offerings is the Teton Salad, and patrons can expect it to evolve just a bit over the seasons. The menu simply states “greens” from Vertical Harvest and the Huidekoper Ranch in Wilson. Look for executive chef Jesse Rezin to select what’s freshest, from garden gem lettuces at Vertical Harvest to Huidekoper Ranch watercress. Pistachios, shaved red onions, and tart green apples add a sweet-savory crunch, while a Meyer lemon-prosecco vinaigrette ties it all together. Pair it with a glass of Château Riotor Rosé or King Estate Pinot Gris.

Kale-Avocado Salad at Lotus

This delectable salad is another skillful creation of Lotus owner/chef Amy Young. Young presents cuisines of all origins—bison burgers topped with kimchi, anyone?—reinterpreted for vegetarian, vegan, Paleo, and dairy- and gluten-free sensibilities. In its airy new space on Cache Street, Lotus satisfies cravings for healthy, full-flavored eating. I suggest the Kale-Avocado Salad as “Lotus 101” fare when we bring out-of-town guests here for the first time. Tender young kale leaves and sliced avocado might sound pedestrian, but they take on a satisfyingly luxurious mouthfeel when topped with Young’s unimaginably tasty vegan Caesar dressing made with grapeseed oil. I usually add pan-fried tofu to my salad, though a variety of proteins are available as add-ons, including Lockhart Cattle Company sirloin, house-made cashew-shiitake cakes, and ground bison. Young is a strict buyer of only organic ingredients. Let’s not talk about that winter with the avocado shortage.


Cobb Salad at Picnic

“Everyone loves a Cobb!” says Ali Cohane, who founded and owns Picnic with her husband, Kevin. This is no ordinary Cobb Salad, however, and owes its complex flavors to local and artisan ingredients like Red Bird Farms all-natural chicken, eggs from the Wyoming Chicken Ranch, and ham from Snake River Farms. Cohane explains, “It’s really just about taking a classic to its best possible end with the best local ingredients.” Dried cherries, chickpeas, and walnuts round out this unexpected Cobb, which is pleasantly not too filling, so you still have room for a slice of gluten-free citrus cake or a fig pop-tart from the pastry counter.


Crispy Duck Salad at Local and Local Butcher

I have a hard time not ordering this salad every time I go to Local or its sister take-away shop around the corner, Local Butcher. The crispy duck leg confit is a rich foil to the greens, carrots, red cabbage, cucumber, and rice noodles. Lightly dressed with rice wine vinegar and a touch of sesame, it strikes the right balance between the indulgent duck leg and its virtuous slaw. Moving here from California, I love it as a highbrow remake of a classic Chinese chicken salad. Available only on Local’s lunch menu, it is a gratifying entree salad, though starting with a shared order of spicy sambal chicken wings would be entirely acceptable. and


Grilled Salmon Salad at Teton Pines

A favorite spot for the Jackson Hole old guard and ladies who lunch, The Restaurant at the Teton Pines Country Club and Resort boasts one of the most consistent kitchens in the valley. Classics like Brown Derby Chopped Salad and Egg Salad sandwiches are served in a clubby, recently redecorated atmosphere that is both warm and formal. The standout among salads is the Grilled Salmon Salad, a generous portion of perfectly grilled salmon that is juicy and slightly crisp on the exterior. Crumbled blue cheese, strands of fried shallot, sweet roasted tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and a balsamic vinaigrette add up to a perfect post-tennis or -golf luncheon. “That is my favorite salad. I have it once a week,” recommends Amy Bickley, The Pines’ director of membership and communications. Friday lunch is lively and packed with regulars, who are often there for the salad special topped with fresh pan-seared walleye.


Mixed Local Greens Salad at Piste

For years, all of the restaurants at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (JHMR) have supported local farms and growers. JHMR was among the first to prioritize seasonality and sustainability in its menus. Nothing can compete with the 9,000-foot views at Piste, the newest restaurant at the top of the Bridger Gondola, but when a restaurant lists twenty local suppliers of produce and meats at the bottom of its menu, you know they’re paying attention to their salads. The Mixed Local Greens Salad features mixed greens from nearby farms like Vertical Harvest in Jackson and Snowdrift Farms in Idaho, with apples, pears, and peaches from not too much further away, all dressed in a sunny sangria vinaigrette.


Steak and Knife Wedge Salad at Westbank Grill

Some salads are just too hard to resist. When the first ingredient is thick-cut boar bacon, the answer is always yes. Having muscled its way onto the salad menu, the Steak and Knife is shamelessly brawny. Cold iceberg lettuce is topped with a shower of said bacon, umami bombs of cured tomato, scallion, smoked blue cheese, and a sharp and creamy horseradish ranch dressing. This take-no-prisoners steakhouse classic is hearty enough to have as an entree, perhaps with the Dungeness crab cakes to start. But, come on, man—you’re in Jackson Hole! Order the salad and the twelve-ounce Rocky Mountain elk chop. It’s been aged for thirty-five days. Ask for the huckleberry barbecue sauce and the roasted mushrooms sizzling in Wyoming Whiskey and nuggets of garlic confit. Sommelier AJ Puccia recommends Jackson Hole Winery’s Chardonnay for the salad, and might even continue with it for the steak.


Snake River Farms ham, chicken, baby kale, chickpeas, walnuts, dried cherries, bacon, smoked blue cheese, sliced farm egg, and buttermilk dressing make up Picnic’s Cobb Salad.
Local’s Crispy Duck Salad is a highbrow remake of a classic Chinese chicken salad, with duck leg confit, rice noodles, pickled carrots, and more, all topped with a miso vinaigrette.
Westbank Grill at Four Seasons offers quite the brawny salad, featuring thick-cut boar bacon, cured tomato, scallion, smoked blue cheese, and horseradish ranch dressing. Sommelier AJ Puccia recommends Jackson Hole Winery’s Chardonnay to accompany the dish.

Where’s That Farm Downtown?

Vertical Harvest, a labor of love and ingenuity in downtown Jackson, is a three-story hydroponic greenhouse scaling an entire exterior wall of a parking garage. Its greenhouse glass and neon lights may first appear to be an art installation, but the beauty and magic happens inside, where rotating beds of hydroponically grown greens, tomatoes, and herbs annually replace over 100,000 pounds of produce that would otherwise be trucked in from outside the region. Regular tours of the greenhouse are offered throughout the week by appointment, but the ground-floor market is open to the public.

Among the market’s locally crafted goods like the Grand Pan, an impressive work of usable farm-to-table industrial art, look for Vertical Harvest’s own produce. A rotation of just-picked salad greens, tomatoes, and herbs are offered along with pickles, jams, and condiments from Bozeman’s Roots Kitchen & Cannery. At press time, Rebelski beefsteak tomatoes and Bumble Bee cherry tomatoes were in hot demand. In the cooler are boxed microgreens, an infinitely tastier hostess gift than a bouquet of supermarket flowers. These tiny first leaves of sunflower, daikon, sweet pea, and other greens can be sweet, sharp, nutty, and intensely flavorful. They are also supercute on a countertop.

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