Featuring Chef Capi Peck, sharing the bounty of Arkansas with #ArkansasGrown produce.
This is one of my favorite things to make and eat in the heat of the summer when our Arkansas tomatoes are coming on strong.
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 6 cups 1-inch bread cubes, cut from French baguettes
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 large Arkansas heirloom tomatoes, cut 1-inch cubes
- 1 large cucumber, seeded, large dice
- 1 each red and yellow bell pepper, cut 1-inch pieces
- 1 Vidalia or other sweet onion, thinly sliced
- 25 large fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped or torn
- 3 tablespoons capers, drained
- Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in large pan or stockpot over medium heat. Add the bread cubes and salt. Stir well to coat the bread. Cook, stirring often, until slightly browned, adding a little more oil if necessary. Set aside.
- For the vinaigrette, whisk garlic cloves, mustard, vinegar and olive oil together. Taste and add salt as needed. Set aside.
- Prep the remaining ingredients and place in a large mixing bowl. Add toasted bread cubes and vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes so that the flavors can marry.
- Optional ingredients: crumbled feta or blue cheese, Kalamata olives, diced avocado
Capi Peck is a Little Rock native who calls herself a “self-taught good cook”. Her love of great food and cooking grew from her childhood experiences at her family’s establishment, the Sam Peck Hotel. Capi’s grandparents ran the well-known downtown spot that brought a cosmopolitan flair and grand cuisine to Little Rock in the 1950’s and 1960’s. As a tribute to her culinary roots, Capi serves a few of Sam Peck’s creations at Trio’s, the restaurant she has co-owned with her partner, Brent Peterson for nearly 30 years.
Capi is committed to featuring locally grown produce whenever possible. She supports more than eight Arkansas farming families by offering their produce on her ever-changing menu.
Strawberries from Caddo Crest Orchard in Guy
Capi serves as Chair of Little Rock’s Advertising and Promotion Commission and is immediate past president of the Arkansas Restaurant Association.
She is very committed to the No Kid Hungry Program, part of Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, where she serves as a volunteer chef in the Cooking Matters classes.
Capi is proudest of her extended family at both Trio’s. More than 10 of her staff have worked with her for over 18 years and 4 have been part of the Trio’s family for 23 or more years.
About Trio’s (Courtesy of Trio’s Restaurant)
“Trio’s Restaurant, which began in 1986 as a gourmet shop with “good food to go” along with cookbooks, coffee, gadgets, and a well-stocked deli, has evolved into one of the finest dining and catering establishments in the state. Capi Peck and Brent Peterson have nurtured Trio’s from its inception. It is their “baby,” and it has grown into an award-winning restaurant known for innovation and consistency.
So many of Trio’s loyal customers began their culinary adventures more than 20 years ago as toddlers at the Trio’s table. And, for many displaced Arkansans, a visit home wouldn’t be complete without a meal at Trio’s with family and friends. Most important are the employees who were here almost from the beginning including Partner Stephanie Caruthers, who started at Trio’s as a baker in 1987, and directs the Catering Department. Apollos Merriweather, who many of you know from his catering work for Trio’s, has been part of the Trio’s team since 1988. Our catering would not be what it is today without Apollos! Eric Wilson began as a dishwasher in 1986! He runs the day kitchen line and is famous for his grilled chicken enchiladas. And, a few of the familiar faces of our floor staff have been with Trio’s for 10+ years: Richard LeSourd, Michelle Lee, and Wayne Pyland. Chef Shanna Merriweather, our Executive Chef, began as an apprentice while in culinary school. She’s a calm leader in the kitchen, and her culinary creativity shines throughout our menu.
The “Trio’s Family” extends far and wide, and Capi and Brent have successfully fostered the fundamental ideal of “hearth and home” in the staff at Trio’s. We all believe that ideal is the key to our success. And, of course, there’s the food!”
Note: Tri0’s was recently named the best Farm-to-Table Restaurant in Arkansas by Travel and Leisure Magazine.