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WAYS TO START. (PEA SHOOTS)

April 19, 2012

Eat them now or  forever wait til next year. Healthy, fascinating pea shoots are the young leaves and tendrils of a pea plant. Though available all over the place in spring/early summer, they are supposedly dead simple to grow, as in, buy a box of dried peas from the store and put them in some good dirt. Water them, give sun and you’re grazing! They do well in pots and the dirt doesn’t have to be deep. Easy things. And because they are so tasty, nutritious and versatile, I just might put number one green thumb, MG, on the task of home production.

Give a little green love to whatever dish you come up with, raw or cooked. Here are some ideas.

BELUGA LENTILS WITH WILTED PEA SHOOTS

(serves 4-5)

1 cup small lentils, rinsed

1 tablespoon oil

1 carrot, small dice

2 celery ribs, small dice

1/2 onion, small dice

2 cloves garlic minced + 2 whole

pinch red pepper flakes

1 jalapeno, halved

1 lemon, juiced

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons vinegar (any one will do)

2 handfuls of pea shoots

salt and pepper

  • Heat the oil in a medium sized pot. Saute the carrot, celery and onion over high heat until lightly browned.
  • Stir in the minced garlic, red pepper flakes, some salt and pepper. Remove from pan and set aside.
  • Delgaze the pan with 2 1/2 cups water and add lentils, two whole garlic cloves (smash them!) and 1/2 of the jalapeno. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until lentils are tender, about 25 minutes but timing could vary.
  • Once tender, drain the lentils and discard the garlic and jalapeno. Return to pot.
  • While the lentils are still hot, stir in the sauteed vegetables, lemon juice, evoo, vinegar, and season generously with salt and pepper. Next, stir in the pea shoots and let the residual heat of the lentils wilt the leaves.
  • Chop up remaining 1/2 of jalapeno to garnish, if desired.

TANGLED PEA SHOOTS IN BROWN GARLIC BUTTER

(serves 2 as an accompaniment)

1 tablespoon butter

1 clove garlic, sliced thin

1 large handful pea shoots

salt and pepper

  • Drop butter into a hot skillet (especially one that has just cooked two steaks).
  • Add garlic slices and cook until butter and garlic are both brown.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add shoots and stir constantly until wilted and coated in sauce. Transfer to plate.

PEA SHOOT SALAD WITH ENDIVE, SCALLION, SHAVED APPLE AND GROUND ALMONDS

2 handfuls pea shoots

1 head endive, core removed, sliced lengthwise

3 scallions, chopped

1/2 apple, shaved into curls with a vegetable peeler

1/4 cup almonds, ground

cider vinaigrette (recipe follows)

  • Layer vegetables together and drizzle with vinaigrette. Toss gently. Top with almonds.

QUICK CIDER VINAIGRETTE

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 scant tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon dijon vinegar

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

  • Add all ingredients to a bowl and whisk together until combined. Or place ingredients into a lidded container and shake to combine. Check for seasoning. Adjust.

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