A fried egg crowns a decadent sandwich of ham enrobed in bechamel and melted cheese from Oklahoma City’s Ludivine restaurant.
OKLAHOMA RISING At first glance, Oklahoma City’s Ludivine appears to serve the type of familiar rib-sticking French bistro fare that sends diners all over America into food-induced comas: split beef bones with molten marrow and tomato jam; a croque tartine, a monster of a sandwich heavy with ham, bechamel sauce, and bubbling cheese, topped with a fried egg. But the side salad for that croque is made with foraged dock and chickweed, which lend a refreshing bittersweet crunch. It’s just one hint that this place is more complex than you might think. Jonathon Stranger and Russ Parsons, the young chefs and co-owners of Ludivine, are both Oklahoma City natives who left home to work under top chefs like Jean-Georges Vongerichten and David Burke. Pulled back by a desire to engage with the agricultural heritage of their hometown, they returned and opened this restaurant in 2010. Their cooking showcases Oklahoma sourcing at its best, from farm-raised Mangalitsa pork and bison to the same native plants that sustained the Choctaw tribe, the area’s first settlers. Keep reading Oklahoma Rising »James Roper
BIG PIE COUNTRY As a young girl living in the suburbs of Los Angeles, I was an avid Little House on the Prairie fan. So perhaps it was inevitable I would marry a farm boy. Well, okay, a rancher–but close enough for me. My husband, Gentner Drummond, is the great-great-grandson of Frederick Drummond, who came to Oklahoma from Scotland in the 1880s. Family legend has it that he might have been escaping a conviction for murdering a competitor on the golf course–a story never verified but one we like to tell nonetheless. In 1911, Frederick’s oldest son, R.C., started what would become a cattle dynasty on the ranch where Gentner and I–with the help of our ranch hands and children–now run a few thousand head on more than 20,000 acres of land.Not long after I first got to know Gentner’s family, I started hearing about a massive picnic hosted at the ranch by the men’s club of the local Presbyterian church. From the 1950s through the 1970s, they invited fathers and sons from across the state to enjoy a day on a working cattle ranch and eat barbecued Drummond beef while surrounded by grassland as far as the eye could see. The people who told me about the picnic were not members of the Drummond family themselves but the little boys–now grown men–who had attended with their fathers, and for whom the event had made a lifetime impression. The longing I heard in their voices made me decide to rekindle the tradition. My idea was to invite all of our friends to the ranch for a potluck. I also figured–rather naively, it turns out–that we could host a friendly old-fashioned pie contest to boot. Keep reading Big Pie Country and get the recipes »James Roper
Grilled trout is lacquered in a glaze that is fragrant with fennel and thyme in this adaptation of a recipe from the Grey Plume in Omaha.
Orsi’s Bakery in Omaha makes this huge 14″ x 9″ ground beef, potato, and mozzarella calzone, enriched with a tangy tomato sauce. See the recipe for Goudarooni »
Piccolo Pete’s Prime Rib
Prime rib is a beloved Omaha steakhouse specialty. One of our favorite versions comes from Piccolo Pete’s, where the meat is rubbed with Italian spices and blasted with high heat to form a flavorful crust. Get the recipe for Piccolo Pete’s Prime Rib »