All of the chefs cooking at the Rogue Sessions will be incorporating local ingredients, but none are more focused on products from the DMV than Spike Gjerde of the highly acclaimed Woodberry Kitchen. For the past four years, the Baltimore eatery has been offering rootsy Americana-themed cuisine that highlights the finest foodstuffs from the Chesapeake watershed. If it’s not available locally, it’s probably not on the menu.
Since Gjerde likes to use a plethora of produce, he is the king of canning. When I spoke with him this past summer, he was hoping to preserve 5,000 pounds of tomatoes, so he could keep them on the menu through the winter. Well, now it’s winter – even if it doesn’t look like it – so I wondered which bright, bold flavors from chef’s larder up north would make their way on to my plate.
Note: To spare readers the repetition and my waistline the punishment, I will be concentrating solely on the visiting chefs’ dishes for the remaining Rogue Sessions.
Snow Hill oyster/fish pepper/pickled ramps
Chef Gjerde comes over to our table to personally introduce the first course: a single Snow Hill oyster balance atop a ghost white hummock of salt. A light umber ramp “glass” encloses the bivalve with a sprinkle of fish pepper. Breaking through, I scoop the contents into a single spoonful of contrasting textures – the thin sheet of ramp crackles as it melts on my tongue, while the crustacean has a wonderfully custardy consistency.