Cooking with Chef Haidar
allisondesy | Jul 13, 2017 | 9:00AM |

Words By Allison Desy, Photos By Nicholas Karlin

What is the best part of summer in D.C.? Perhaps it’s sweating in places you never even thought could sweat during 90 degree scorchers. Perhaps it’s the unbelievably packed public transit at all hours of the day. For Chef Haidar Karoum, it’s the highly accessible fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers markets.

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Chef Haidar let the BYT team tag along with him on his trip to the Ronald Reagan Farmers Market where he picked out asparagus, sugar snap peas, and red and green spring onions for a vegetable and ricotta dumpling dish. When asked about his favorite items to scoop up at markets during the summer, the true answer is absolutely everything, though his favorites are ripe stone fruits, corn, tomatoes, and zucchini.

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After sweating our way through all of the stands at the market, we made our way to the kitchen to get cooking. Chef Haidar got started on trimming up the vegetables we gathered, plus some maitake and morel mushrooms. Not a single scrap of vegetable was wasted. What didn’t get sauteed gently with olive oil was added to a delicate broth and later finished with butter to ensure a silky smooth texture.

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Chef Haidar’s first solo restaurant, Chloe, is set to open later this fall. After years of experience as executive chef at great D.C. spots like Estadio and Doi Moi, we are excited to see his own personal Lebanese flare and Mediterranean influences shine through. The menu at Chloe will feature classic dishes such as roasted chicken and comforting pasta bowls, among others. The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner all week, plus brunch on weekends.“The food at Chloe will always reflect what’s regionally available from the farmers and purveyors I’ve been working with for the last two decades,” said Haidar.

The final dish Chef Haidar created for us clearly embodies his vision for Chloe. A simple but delicious showcase of spring veggies and warm dumplings in a flavorful broth is a surprisingly easy dish to make at home.

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Grab a bottle of rosé and hit up your local farmers market to recreate this fresh take on a perfect vegetarian summer dinner.

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Recipe: Asparagus, Morels & Spring Onions with Ricotta Dumplings

Asparagus: 8 oz
Morel mushrooms (or any wild mushroom): 6 oz
Spring onions: 4 oz

Ricotta: 7 oz
Eggs:  1
Pecorino Romano: 3 Tbs
Flour: 5 Tbs
Salt:  1/2 tsp
Basil: 1 Tbs

Water: 2 cups
Butter: 2 Tbs

For the dumplings combine ricotta, egg, pecorino, basil, and flour. Blend until combined.

Peel and trim vegetables.  Combine trimmings and an equal part water and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, strain and save broth.

Bring 4 qts of water to a gentle simmer. Season w 1/2 Tbs of salt.  Add ricotta mixture 1 Tbs at a time.  Cook until they rise to the surface of the water.  Remove with a slotted spoon.

Simmer vegetables and mushrooms in vegetable broth for 1-2 minutes. Strain and combine with ricotta dumplings. Finish with butter.

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Chloe’s opening is tentatively scheduled for mid-fall at the Navy Yard.