Just in time for spring’s bounty, Virgin Hotels Chicago has partnered with Green City Market, Chicago’s largest and first year-round sustainable farmers market, for some of its produce.
Green City Market began as a small startup in 1998 with nine local farmers right down the street from Virgin Hotels Chicago in the crosswalk next to the Chicago Theatre. The vision was clear – to provide Chicago with a year round farmer’s market that supports local farmers and sustainable agricultural practices. From that first year to present day, Green City Market continues to experience crowds of over 175,000 visitors per year to its Lincoln Park location.
We recently sat down with our very own Executive Chef Moosah Reaume to discuss the debut of some of these new and sustainable ingredients on his Spring menu in Commons Club.
(Apple-rhubarb barbecue, mint yogurt, apple frisee salad)
In a city full of restaurants offering lamb chops, loin and shanks, Chef Moosah decided to do the unexpected and highlight lamb ribs. For this creative dish, he pairs the smoked-then-grilled ribs with a zesty apple-rhubarb barbecue sauce, an apple-frisee salad and mint-infused yogurt. A dusting of cumin-lime sunflower and pumpkin seeds adds additional texture. While the dish is easy to share, we bet once you taste them you won’t want to.
(Citrus vin, kohlrabi, beef tendon chips)
For his fun take on surf and turf, Chef Moosah puts the spotlight on salmon from Sixty South, a sustainable purveyor that raises the fish in the pristine waters of Antarctica. Served raw, he pairs the flavorful salmon with a simple citrus vinaigrette that gets some floral notes from elderflower and funkiness from fish sauce, an ingredient Chef Moosah’s mom would often use. Mango and pickled kohlrabi get added in along with a sprinkling of sunflower and sesame seeds. The turf aspect comes courtesy of crispy beef tendon chips, similar to chicharron, which add a creative twist to the gluten-free dish.
(Pesto, roasted broccoli, pecorino)
For his take on pesto, Chef Moosah eliminates nuts and instead goes all in with broccoli. Broccoli stems are blended with pecorino, Parmesan, Thai chilis and olive oil. Additionally, stems are turned into noodles via some precise mandoline slicing. The tender tagliatelle is made in house, as is all the pasta served at Commons Club, and lightly cooked in olive oil before being plated with the unique twist on pesto.
Ramp and Goat Cheese Toast
(Pickled roots on housemade grilled sourdough)
With a resume that includes working for Jean-Georges Vongerichten, it comes as no surprise that Chef Moosah counts this as one of his favorite dishes. For his version, he takes the greens of springtime’s early ramps and slowly cooks them before pureeing them with butter and goat cheese. Housemade sourdough toast is spread with the ramp-goat cheese butter and then layered with the pickled ramp stems and radishes, fresh kohlrabi and carrot shavings, and, on top, a bright herb salad.
Look for Chef Moosah to rep us at the annual Green City Market’s 2019 Chef BBQ on July 18, a who’s-who of the city’s top chefs, as well as make an appearance at one of the celebrity chef demonstrations and cooking lessons held during the Wednesday and Saturday markets in Lincoln Park.