This past weekend, Chef Paul Ferzacca, owner of La Tour and Zacca Za, was busy feeding hungry Front Rangers at the Taste of Colorado in Denver. It was Ferzacca's first time at the festival, where he dished up a tasty pan-roasted Rocky Mountain quail with Olathe sweet corn, chanterelle mushroom and potato fricasse. "People loved the dish," he said. "Many people had never had quail before and they really enjoyed it."Ferzacca will also be at the Denver Food & Wine Classic this coming Saturday, serving sauteed Colorado striped bass with olathe corn and wild rice spoon bread and chanterelle mushroom vin blanc.While he was busy checking out Denver's Labor Day foodie fest, his staff was here in Vail, serving up spicy Asian barbecue steak sliders at Gourmet on Gore."(Taste of Colorado) was gigantic, a much larger scale than we do," Ferzacca said. "Most of the food was very simple, though they did have a fine dining section where the food was more on par with what you would see here in Vail."
(Recipe by Paul Ferzacca, La Tour.)Corn, mushroom and potato fricasse:1 yellow onion, peeled and diced small2 stalks celery, diced small6 ounces chanterelle mushrooms, washed and quartered4 garlic cloves, minced2 Yukon Gold potatoes, large, peeled and diced small and reserved in water4 tablespoon All-purpose flour1 cup cream sherry wine2 cups organic chicken stock4 ears Olathe sweet corn, cut the corn kernals from the cob4 tablespoon corn oil1 cup heavy creamKosher salt and ground white pepper to taste1 teaspoon each of tarragon, chervil, Italian parsley, chivesSemi-boneless quail:8 quailKosher salt and ground white pepper to taste2 tablespoon corn oilPlace a small stock pot on the stove and bring to medium heat. Add the corn oil, onion, celery, mushrooms and garlic and saut until onion is transparent.Add the flour and let cook 2 to 3 minutes without coloring. Deglaze with sherry wine and reduce by half. Add chicken stock, drained diced potatoes, heavy cream and bring to simmer and let cook 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Once the potatoes turn tender add the corn to the fricasse and let simmer another 5 minutes.While the fricasse is cooking, prepare the herbs; pick leaves from stems of tarragon, chervil and parsley, rough chop and mix together in a bowl. Slice the chives finely and mix with the rest of the herbs.To cook the quail, make sure all feathers are removed and dry with paper towel. Season quail with Kosher salt and ground white pepper. Place saut pan on stove and bring to medium high heat.Add corn oil and quail and cook for approximately 3 to 4 minutes on each side browning and crisping skin. Season fricasse with kosher salt, ground white pepper and herbs and serve quail over top of fricassee.Serves:4.