Chef LaBant @ The Westport Farmers Market

Liz Rueven

Dedicated market shoppers will be treated to  a selection of  toasty, seasonal dishes at the Westport Farmers’ Market on October 28  between 10-2.  Tim LaBant, chef and owner of SCHOOLHOUSE RESTAURANT in Wilton, will present three preparations using farm fresh, local ingredients from market vendors and his go-to restaurant source, Millstone Farm in Wilton.

To ward off the chill of these late October days, LaBant will offer his Jerusalem Artichoke Soup, a satisfying puree of the namesake’s goofy looking root of the sunflower, onions, garlic, chicken stock, bay leaves.  This slightly sweet, nutty puree is lightly finished with cream, contrasting a bit of richness with the earthy flavor of this nutritious tuber. Be sure to ask LaBant about how to handle his favorite fall root. 

LaBant will  also compose a salad of peppery arugula, shaved crisp radishes, beets, carrots and any other veggies that look salad worthy to him that morning.  Don’t be surprised to find kohlrabi, mint, even late season, green tomatoes in this spontaneous composition.  His “go to” dressing of canola oil, lime juice and honey will likely dress the salad or he might whip up a blend of orange zest, buttermilk, pink peppercorns and orange juice to enhance the flavors of the veggies.

As if these offerings aren’t enough,  LaBant will also present a hearty sandwich of Millstone Farm raised, organic, pork shoulder, braised til tender then sliced and layered on Wave Hill’s fresh bread of the day.  It is just spicy enough  with the addition of North African inspired harissa.  Asian greens or pickled cabbage add the crunch.  For the vegetarians among the shoppers,  we can only hope that he opts for Cato Corner Farm’s local, nutty, manchego cheese, layered with house pickled, green tomatoes.  

Tim LaBant opened SCHOOLHOUSE RESTAURANT after renovating the Civil War era, one room school house. This 35 seat, sparingly appointed, historic room allows diners to focus on the chef’s passion for using unique and locally sourced ingredients in deceptively simple ways. LaBant completed his formal culinary education at Johnson and Wales University and cooked with Emmy award winning Chef Ming Tsai, of the popular television show, “Simply Ming”. His knowledge of French cuisine developed while working as a chef at the award winning L’Espalier in Boston.  He also cooked in the kitchens of Le Bernardin and Aureole in NYC.  

With offerings like Tim LaBant’s at the weekly farmers’ market in Westport, it  is well worth your while to finally break out those warm jackets and gloves.  Autumn’s bounty is calling.