It’s summertime in Annapolis, which means it’s hot, hot, hot – the perfect time to hop on a boat and head out on the water. Or drop into Blackwall Hitch, where the air is cool and the breezy, and modern nautical décor – think blues and whites, glass and wood – screams summer on the Chesapeake Bay.
In the kitchen at Blackwall Hitch, Executive Chef Zachary Pope cooks with summer in mind, incorporating seasonal ingredients into his creations and making dishes that are packed with flavor but light enough they won’t weigh you down, even in the dog days.
This month, I’ve fallen in love with his lemongrass shrimp noodle salad.
The salad is a bright mixture of vermicelli noodles, carrots, bean sprouts, basil, cilantro, shredded kale and thinly sliced jalapenos, tossed with lime vinaigrette that has just the slightest hint of heat. Alone, it’s lively and flavorful, but it makes an even better backdrop for slow-grilled shrimp, marinated in lemongrass teriyaki sauce and garnished with sliced scallions.
The ingredients’ flavors – herbaceous, citrusy, savory – play off of one another beautifully, but Chef Zachary’s dish isn’t only about taste. It’s also about texture. From the crunch of the peanuts to the slippery noodles, the ingredients make this salad fun to eat.
At the suggestion of Blackwall Hitch bartender Alyssa Clayville, I paired the salad with a glass of Sileni Sauvignon Blanc. Alyssa really knows her stuff: the bright white wine, one of her favorites, was exactly the right amount of bold for the dish.
After lunch, I left the cool confines of Blackwall Hitch’s dining room for the bright sunshine of Eastport, thinking that I might have just had the perfect summer lunch. Light and bright, with plenty of summery herbs and crunch, it kept me smiling all the way until dinnertime.
Photography and videography courtesy of Darren Heater.