Sautéed Pea Shoots
All sorts of delicate greens are beginning to pop up on the grocer’s shelves and in Farmers’ Markets. I recently saw a nice selection of various micro greens at LaBonne’s in Salisbury CT. Alongside there was a large pack of pea shoots. This surprised me because I usually only find pea shoots in small packages. What a treat to find a large salad-sized pack!
Pea shoots are often confused with pea sprouts. Pea sprouts are light green with a long slender stem and two tiny leaves whereas pea shoots are a more mature version. Each pea shoot is about 3 inches long and has more leaves. Although flavor is always more concentrated in tiny plants (such as in microgreens or sprouts), pea shoots have a very delicate flavor with a crisp crunch. I like to add them to salads, pack them in sandwiches and use them to brighten up an omelet. Pea shoots stay crisp and last a remarkably long time in the refrigerator. I hadn’t realized how many meals I’d be making with the large salad-sized pack!
I decided to try something new this year and sauté the pea shoots as I would spinach leaves. As happens with spinach leaves, pea shoots cook down to a much smaller volume - you start with a hefty bunch of pea shoots in a large pan and the quantity reduces dramatically as they are sautéed. I simply sautéed the pea shoots with a little oil and sliced garlic, then lightly salt them and drizzled on some roasted peanut oil. I always keep a selection of little cans of La Tourangelle brand roasted nut oils in my fridge. They’re perfect for making flavorful salad dressings or for drizzling on grilled vegetables. La Tourangelle has a half-dozen varieties of roasted nut oil, each with a very distinctive flavor. For my sautéed pea shoots I decided to drizzle on a little Roasted Peanut Oil which added a delicious rich counterpoint to the pea shoots and garlic.
Many different nut oils would work well in this recipe so feel free to use your favorite. If you like Roasted Sesame Oil you might want to also add some sesame seeds to the sautéed pea shoots for added crunch. Or, if you top the pea shoots with Toasted Pumpkin Seed Oil, try adding some spicy pepitas. I would stress that “roasted” or “toasted” nut oils add a lot more flavor that the unroasted versions. For example, roasted peanut oil has a very different flavor than plain peanut oil which is extremely mild and not flavorful enough for a topping.
SAUTÉED PEA SHOOTS
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 pound pea shoots
La Tourangelle Roasted Peanut Oil*
Salt & pepper
In a large pan heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the sliced garlic cloves and cook over low heat until the cloves start to turn light brown, constantly stirring to ensure that they don’t burn. Add the pea shoots and continue stirring while the pea shoots gently sauté. The entire process will only take a minute or two. If the pea shoots begin to stick to the pan, add a little water, a quarter-cup at a time.
To serve, top the sautéed pea shoots with a drizzle of Roasted Peanut Oil and a little salt and pepper to taste.