The Shelter Island Farmers Market is now in operation every Saturday morning from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on the grounds of the Historical Society, and what a boon to those who love to eat. Which is everyone I know.
On a recent Saturday, I decided to organize my visit to the market around a modest goal — the creation of a large bowl of sesame noodles that I could serve to my menfolk and myself.
Want to know the great thing about making sesame noodles? It’s more like assembling ingredients than actually cooking. But it’s delicious and I don’t mind taking credit for being able to boil water.
K.K.s, an organic farm in Southold, had a table full of spring vegetables. I learned later from Ira Haspel, K.K.’s husband, that in spite of the cool wet spring, they have plenty of heirloom and cherry tomatoes, thanks to their greenhouse and raised beds, which are less affected by the wet weather. But it was the pile of gorgeous red spring onions that called out to me and a pile of young carrots in three colors joined the chorus. All key ingredient in sesame noodles. I bought them.
Over at the Sylvester Manor Farm stand was a collection of the most beautiful red lettuces that I have ever seen, but the curly green garlic scapes stood out. Garlic scapes are the stems and blossoms that the garlic plants send up in the spring, and they have a wonderful crunch and a mild garlic taste when eaten raw — the perfect crunchy topping for my noodles.
Goodale Farms had wonderful cheeses — mozzarella, feta, two kinds of chevre, as well as their wonderful cheesemaker, Karen on hand, so I had to stop for a “taste test.” They also had fragrant strawberries, which was fortunate, since the ones I had bought on the North Fork two days prior were so ripe that by the time I got them home it looked like a massacre had taken place in my shopping bag.
With supplies in hand, I headed home to prepare the meal: a salad of local greens with feta, cold sesame noodles and strawberry ice cream. This domestic goddess did not break a sweat.
Farmers Market Sesame Noodles
Serves 4 as a dinner; Serves 6 as a side dish
1 to 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed in a garlic press
1Ž2 cup tahini paste
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
8 ounces dried lo mein noodles
1 cucumber, peeled only if the skin is tough, and cut into matchsticks, about 1-1/2 cups
1 carrot, scrubbed but unpeeled and cut into matchsticks, about 1-1/2 cups
4 scallions, cut on the bias, about 1- 1/2 cups
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped garlic scapes (when scapes are not in season, use 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds)
In a large bowl, whisk together the garlic, tahini, soy sauce, hoisin, the peanut and sesame oils, pepper flakes and the hot sauce.
Bring five quarts of water to a boil. Salt the water, and cook the noodles about 3 minutes or according to the package instructions. Drain the noodles, reserving 3 tablespoons of the water. Rinse the noodles with cold water to stop the noodles from sticking and to cool them.
Whisk the 3 tablespoons of reserved water into the tahini sauce. Add the drained noodles, cucumber, carrot and scallions and toss together until coated with the dressing.
Season with pepper and garnish with diced garlic scapes. Serve at room temperature.