Recently I was lucky to visit the Tuesday Kenilworth Farmers Market! I live on the opposite side of the city from this market so I don’t often get to attend, but it was great to go while in the area right after work – perfect timing. The Kenilworth Farmers Market has a great mix of vendors for a small market, which can feel rare in Baltimore. Many of the smaller downtown weekday markets near me have several prepared food and craft options, but Kenilworth is the real deal with a couple stellar farmers, flowers, mushrooms, spices, jam, cheese, meats, and eggs. But, because it’s small, it’s possible to take a moment to connect with the growers and cooks in a special way that you can’t quite at a busy market. I love it—and they’re open every Tuesday this summer, 3:30-6:30 pm (go visit!).
After picking up some jam from Rare Opportunity Farm (because their Raspberry Chipotle Jam is amazing) I did some shopping at Calvert’s Gift Farm‘s beautiful stand. Right now there’s a delicious mix of spring vegetables and early summer herbs at the markets, and I picked up some fresh asparagus and spectacular blue African basil.
As the weather has gotten warmer, I’ve missed easing through spring a bit, but am now starting to crave some summer goodness! Asparagus and basil overlap their seasons for just a few weeks and make a tasty spring treat together!
Cook’s note: This recipe centers on fresh produce but also draws heavily on Asian pantry ingredients. If you don’t have a good Asian pantry supply (or supplier) – the main goal of this recipe is to be very savory (miso, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, canned tuna), salty, and spicy with a little bit of acidity (white wine vinegar, lime) for balance. Use what you’ve got if you need to substitute!
Basil Fried Noodles
Makes 3-4 servings.
- 1 onion
- 1 bunch asparagus
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1-inch knob of ginger
- 1 bunch basil, any variety
- Peanut oil
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, or cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 tbsp crab paste
- 1 tbsp fried chili in oil
- 1/2 package rice noodle sticks
- Prep: cut the onion into long slices, about 1/4-inch thick. Cut off any tough bottoms from the asparagus stalks and cut them on the bias into pieces about 1&1/2-inches long. Peel and mince the garlic and ginger. Pick the basil leaves from the stems. Slice the basil into thin strips (chiffonade – this is optional) and set aside. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Mix the vinegar, fish sauce, ground white pepper, and crab paste together.
- Cook and drain the noodles (btw, Bon Appetit’s How to Cook Rice Noodles so They Don’t Stick Together)
- Cook: Heat 1 tbsp of peanut oil in a wok or large Dutch oven on high heat. When the oil is very hot, add onion and asparagus, stirring almost constantly until the onion is starting to become clear. Add the ginger and garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the noodles and sauce mixture. Stir to incorporate and simmer together briefly – when the noodles are starting to get just a bit crispy, remove from the heat.
- Assemble: Serve the stir fry on plates and garnish with a lot of basil and fried chili oil!