Pssst: Pea Season has arrived
I spotted pea shoots a few weeks ago at the farmers market, so I bought a bunch, washed and trimmed the stems and I cooked them briefly and served them with a simple lemon rice.
I also bought pea plant starts from River Farm, but after we planted them, our cat Gino dug up three of them. At first I suspected Gino, was a secret vegetarian and wanted to try pea shoots, but he'd tossed the tiny plants aside, like he was miffed that we hadn't planted catnip.
|Gino, the pea shoot thief|
Remove the tough stems from pea shoots.
Fresh peas at the market can be pricey, but they only come once a year, so plant your own or save your pennies and get to the farmers' market when the first shoots appear--which would be now at the U-District farmers market.
The flavor of pea shoots is delicate and subtle so choose ingredients that won't overwhelm them, and remember to remove all of the tough stem, which can make for an unpleasant eating experience.
After the shoots, come sugar snap, snow, and then shelling or English peas which are so good, even self-professed pea haters become converts. Sugar snap and snow peas are the best bargain because you eat the pods.
String sugar snap peas and snow peas after washing. If you don't, you'll curse yourself because the tips can poke you when you eat and the strings are tough.
Shell English peas before using in recipes.
|Sugar snap peas from Willie Green's Organic Farm|
|Be sure to remove English peas from the pods before eating|
|Sugar Snap Peas from Willie Greens Organic Farm|
|My Cooking Assistant is in heaven with these fresh English peas.|
|Pea shoots from Mair Farm-Taki at the farmers' market|
Sugar Snap Peas, Tomatoes, Mushrooms, and Penne Pasta
2 cups penne pasta
8-ounces shiitake mushrooms, tough stems removed (save for soup stock)
1 large red pepper, stem removed, seeded and diced
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound sugar snap peas, strings removed
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup Kalamata olives
10 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
2 tablespoons lemon juice or balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. While the water boils, prepare the vegetables.
Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add shiitake mushrooms and dry-fry, stirring until mushrooms become soft. Add red pepper and oil. Stir and cook until peppers soften.
Add sugar snap peas, cover and cook for 10 minutes or until pears are tender. Stir in garlic powder, green onions, and Kalamata olives.
Transfer to a serving bowl and gently blend in tomatoes, lemon juice, sea salt and pepper.