elk camp's summer panzanella salad is the quintessential aspen small plate

Lisa Blake | May 17, 2019 | Food & Drink


Summer Panzanella Salad
From Elk Camp

It takes a special blend of culinary sorcery to pull off Elk Camp’s Tuesday night summer farm dinners. The elaborate on-mountain spreads unfold at the top of Snowmass’ Elk Camp Gondola, drawing upward of 500 hungry guests to locally sourced a la carte stations, Colorado beer and distillery tastings, and family-minded live music.

Chef du cuisine Bradley Murphy partners with area purveyors Delicious Orchards, Erin’s Acres, Rock Bottom Ranch and others to compose the market-style layout, artfully arranging harvest tables of charcuterie, composed salads, leg of lamb and whole pig rotisseries.

If you try one thing, make sure it’s Murphy’s famous panzanella salad. The Italian classic is built with a hearty locally baked loaf from Louis Swiss, tossed in olive oil and grilled before joining forces with Wild Mountain Seeds’ earthy sunbaked tomatoes, aromatic Colorado basil, juicy Palisade peaches and creamy local burrata. Chef may throw in some heirloom beans or kale if the calendar permits.

The key to Colorado produce, says culinary director Jim Butchart, is to do as little as possible to it and enjoy the natural tastes and textures. That leaves more time for the important things, like crafting the perfect Colorado summer day.

“There’s so much to love,” says Butchart, “long days with an endless palate of activities, high mountain lakes, farmers markets, live music, alfresco dinner with friends, cool nights and campfires.” Top of Elk Camp Gondola, Snowmass, 970.923.0450


Photography by: aspen skiing company