Counter Intelligence

Favorite Five: Barry Koslow of Tallula and EatBar

Posted in District of Columbia by melissamccart on April 28, 2009

Tallula’s Barry Koslow knows local. The area native has earned accolades  at some of our most well-regarded restaurants:  most recently, as executive chef of Mendocino Grille and previously on the line at Circle Bistro, Citronelle, 2941 and Equinox. 

So it’s right in keeping that his favorite spring ingredients are locally raised: ramps— the sell-out item of the farmers markets, asparagus, morels, fava beans and spring lamb.

Stop by my favorite neighborhood restaurant not in my neighborhood, and you’ll find plenty on the menu showcasing Koslow’s favorite ingredients this season. Inspired by Koslow, Capital Spice, Missy Frederick and I cooked up delicious dinners this past weekend.

For the morels, fava beans and asparagus: I poured through a couple of my favorite cookbooks– Suzanne Goin’s Sunday Suppers, Tom Colicchio’s Think Like a Chef and an Alice Waters vegetable cookbook. I was thinking maybe a hash or a spring succotash, then decided to keep it simple; I love the clean flavor of favas and the grassiness of asparagus. Simple also meant subbing honey mushrooms for morels, since I’ve cooked with morels three times this season already. I haven’t found them fresh yet and dried they’re $22 bucks a pack at Whole Foods–  more expensive than the lamb.

I brought a big pot of salty water to a boil, blanched the shelled favas for two minutes, removed them with a slotted spoon and let them cool in an ice bath, after which the skins came off easily. Once I was finished, I did the same with asparagus tips.  As they cooled, I sauteed morels and diced shallots in a skillet with a dash of olive oil and a pat of butter, then combined asparagus, favas, morels, shallots in a bowl, using the butter/oil as the fat for the dressing, then squeezed a lemon over it and finished it off with salt, pepper and a bit of pecorino shavings.

For the ramps and the lamb: Lamb chops at Whole Foods looked terrific. So I bought a couple and pan-roasted them, as I’d learned from Colicchio’s Think Like A Chef (he demonstrates with sirloin). I seasoned chops with salt and pepper and heated a skillet using grapeseed oil (it has a higher smokepoint than olive oil). I placed them in a skillet, took it off the burner for a minute, reduced the heat on the stove, then browned both sides and the edges. After about six minutes, I added butter and thyme, basting as it continued to cook.  My chops were small, so ten minutes later, I removed them and let them rest for ten for rare to medium rare meat. I sliced, sprinkled with coarse sea salt and garnished with a very quick version of pickled ramps.

Check out Capital Spice and Missy’s Recipes for fancier renditions of dinner inspired by these ingredients.

(photo from


One Response

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  1. Capital Spice said, on April 28, 2009 at 9:54 am

    Maybe it’s just that photo but Chef Koslow looks a lot like Ed Norton. Just saying.

    Thanks for giving us the opportunity on this one! Thanks to you (and Mike’s cooking skills) I got to enjoy an amazing seasonal dinner.

    – Elizabeth

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