Cooking with pea shoots

Summer is in full swing and fresh produce is EVERYWHERE! Take advantage of the bounty offered by your local farmer’s markets, grocery stores, and CSAs and try cooking with some new ingredients this season. Sure, you’ve incorporated spring peas into your meals in the past – but what about pea shoots?

Pea shoots (not to be confused with pea sprouts, a younger version of shoots) are the delicate, green tendrils of the pea plant. They are sometimes topped with leaves or blossoms and lend a sweet flavor and light crunch to your dish. When choosing your shoots, avoid ones with browning leaves or stems, and once you buy them, use them quickly!

Wondering how to incorporate them into your summer diet? According to Todd Heberlein, the chef at Volante Farms and the recipe guru for the farm’s forthcoming book, “if it grows together it goes together.” So feel free to serve these little guys alongside garlic scapes, spring onions, and the like. Todd likes to toss a handful of shoots in fresh-cooked pasta with sautéed house-made bacon, tarragon, and a dollop of mascarpone. He also adds them to his salads, and they go particularly well with baby spinach, local aged goat cheese, sweet pickled rhubarb, and walnuts.

Karen Covey, author of The Coastal Table cookbook and publisher of the magazine by the same name, has found a way to incorporate them into a true summer staple: potato salad. Check out her recipe below, and be sure to bring it to your next cookout!

Spring Pea + Potato Salad
Lemon Vinaigrette:
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
12 small Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed and dried
1 cup fresh peas
Handful fresh pea shoots, trimmed
1 bunch fresh garden greens (or arugula), washed and dried
Fresh mint, optional

1. Make vinaigrette. In a medium bowl, combine lemon juice, honey, and mustard and season with salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in olive oil until combined. Taste for seasoning and adjust as desired. Set aside.

2. Place potatoes in a pot of cold, salted water and bring to a boil. Cook until potatoes are tender and can be easily pierced with a fork, 15-20 minutes. Remove potatoes with a slotted spoon and place in a medium bowl. Drizzle with a bit of vinaigrette and gently toss to coat. Set aside to cool slightly. Keep pan of boiling water on stove.

3. Add peas to boiling water and cook for 3-4 minutes, until bright green. Remove with a slotted spoon and add to a bowl of ice water. Drain well. Pat peas dry and add to a large bowl.

4. Cut potatoes in half and add to bowl of peas along with pea shoots and greens (or arugula). Add mint (if using).

5. Pour a bit of vinaigrette over salad to lightly coat. Season with salt and pepper and serve with any remaining vinaigrette alongside.
Serves 4-6.