Ramps, Morels Usher in Chicago’s Spring
by Jennifer Olvera In Chicago, spring has sprung! We’ve had a few warm days, and ramps—among the season’s first edible indicators—are at-the-ready. (Cue the swooning sound.) We just love these wild, potently flavored beauties, which are foraged locally in cool, forested areas. And we’re psyched to share where you can find them around town. Blackbird’s Mike Sheerin will serve puréed ramps with halibut; upping the ante further, they’ll also be pickled, alongside. Meanwhile, Jill Barron, exec chef at MANA food bar, is heading to Michigan to pluck ramps herself; after pickling her finds, she’ll combine them with soy, fermented Chinese black beans and fiddleheads from Vermont. As for Paul Virant of Vie restaurant, he’ll feature them in several ways, including in a beef dish with braised ramp sauerkraut; he’ll also team ricotta gnocchi with peas, fines herbes and buttered ramp bulbs. Morels—another spring thing—are making their debut, too. How’s this for the best of both worlds: butter-braised, breadcrumb-topped morels with last year’s pickled ramps. Get it while it lasts at The Bristol. Feeling adventurous? There’s always Jared Wentworth’s morel-accented veal brains at Longman & Eagle… provided you get a table, that is. Keep coming back for more about the Chicago dining scene, including Chicago Restaurant News, Restaurant Reviews, Culinary Events and Chicago Wine Dinners.