Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

The forecast for the weekend is begging you to ditch the heavy winter coat, pack a tasty sandwich, and head outside! Banh mi, a Vietnamese street food staple, includes many ingredients available at winter markets right now, including daikon radish, carrots, lemongrass, and cilantro. Our recipe takes a bit of advance prep time for marinating and pickling, but the actual active work is fairly simple. 

The central protein in a banh mi can include pâté, cold cuts, grilled pork or chicken, ground meat, or even tofu. Our recipe starts with a marinade that works great for both grilled pork or tofu. In the bowl of a food processor, combine two stalks of lemongrass (cut into small pieces), six scallions, two tablespoons each of soy sauce and fish sauce, and one tablespoon each of brown sugar, honey, sesame oil, and vegetable oil. Process marinade until smooth. Look for lemongrass and scallions from Lee’s One Fortune Farm at ASAP or River Arts District markets. If you’re using pork, try it with sliced chops or belly from Dry Ridge Farm at ASAP Farmers Market. 
Marinate pork for four hours or tofu for about 10 minutes. On a grill, in a grill pan, or under the broiler, cook pork slices for a few minutes on each side. For crispy tofu, bake in a 400-degree oven or place under a low broiler element for 20 to 25 minutes, turning and brushing with additional marinade partway through.
For pickled vegetables, peel and thinly slice, julienne, or grate two small carrots and one medium daikon radish. Place the vegetables in a large bowl and sprinkle with one tablespoon of sugar and half a teaspoon of kosher salt. (You can double the sugar if you prefer a sweeter pickle.) Massage sugar and salt into the vegetables. Toss with one fourth cup rice wine vinegar. Let stand for at least 30 minutes. Look for daikon and carrots from both Ten Mile Farm at ASAP Farmers Market and Highgate Farm at River Arts District Farmers Market. Feel free to substitute a different type of radish, if you can’t find daikon or prefer something milder. 
For many sandwich enthusiasts, the bread for a bahn mi is the most important part. It’s typically served on a light, airy version of French bread with a very thin crust. Your best bet, if you’re looking for locally made bread, is the baguette from High Top Bread Company. You can get it at Weaverville Tailgate Market. 
To assemble your sandwich, slice three-quarters of the way through the bread to create a pocket. Spread with mayonnaise (or make your own spicy mayonnaise with Sriracha). Layer in your protein, pickled vegetables, and plenty of tender cilantro stems and leaves (get cilantro from Lee’s One Fortune Farm). If you like it extra spicy, feel free to add your choice of chile peppers. Enjoy!
At winter markets now you’ll also find beets, turnips, kale, spinach, mustard greens, cabbage, lettuce, winter squash, potatoes, and mushrooms. Markets are also stocked with a variety of meats, cheese, rice, pasta, pastries, drinks, and prepared foods. Find more details about farms and markets throughout the region, including winter hours, in ASAP’s online Local Food Guide.

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