16 June 2010

Pea Shoots

I caved in to peer pressure on Saturday. George and I were strolling through the Durham Farmers' Market and I heard people in line at one stand cooing about "pea shoots." They discussed how great it was for this stand to be selling pea shoots, and they kept looking covetously at the pea shoots, so I looked too. Only three bags remained, at $3 each, and for some reason I felt compelled to snatch one up immediately. I merged with the queue of pea-shoot lovers and asked George if he thought pea shoots were a good idea. He shrugged in a supportive way.

Of course I had no idea what pea shoots were. So I asked my college buddies what to do. Joy said she eats them raw in salads and sandwiches. Quyen told me she sautés them quickly with garlic scapes in oil. Mark Bittman agrees with Quyen. I didn't have garlic scapes, but I did have fresh garlic from the farmers' market plus a bunch of new shallots from our garden. So after soaking the pea shoots in water to clean them, I made this recipe:

Garlicky Pea Shoots

canola oil
5 medium cloves garlic, chopped
6-10 tiny shallots, chopped. Or some chopped leek.
0.5 cubic feet/ about four large handfuls of pea shoots
salt to taste

Fill a fry pan with about 1/4 inch of oil. Heat up. Add garlic and shallots. Cook about 2 minutes until softened and fragrant. Add pea shoots. Sauté quickly until wilted but still bright green. Serve hot with salt to taste.

Sautéed pea shoots have a nice spinachy texture and a bright grassy (in a good way) flavor. This recipe reminds me of some of my favorite Chinese restaurant cooking, so I bet it would pair well with dumplings or wine-cooked mushrooms or spicy noodles or fried rice.

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