Every spring I discover some new farmer’s market pearl. Last year it was garlic scapes and this year it is pea shoots. The first thing you may be wondering is what is a pea shoot, and why is she eating it?
Pea shoots are the young stems of snow pea plants. They are also my new obsession since they are trivial to cook, good for you, and have a flavour unique from other cooked greens. When eating them you can taste the slight hint of peas. Heavenly, heavenly, peas.
Last spring I ate stir-fried pea shoots as the seasonal green in a Vietnamese restaurant’s greens with garlic dish. The tendrils curled off the plate and around invisible fingers just like they do on the plants themselves. Apparently stir fried pea shoots are very common in various Asian cuisines.
If you have never seen these in your local grocery store I suggest you take a second look or ask. I found this bunch last week in a local health food store for just over a dollar. When you buy them, buy a large bunch as the shoots cook down significantly–similar to other leafy greens like spinach. Next time I will think about using stronger Asian flavours and slightly less oil.
Stir Fried Pea Shoots Recipe with Garlic and Chilies
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
a pinch chili flakes
4 cups packed pea shoots, roughly chopped
Heat a large skillet to medium and add olive oil, garlic and chili flakes. The oil should bubble around the garlic but not burn. Cook the garlic and chilies, stirring them for about 3 minutes, or until garlic softens and starts to turn golden. Add pea shoots and stir well to coat evenly in the oil and garlic. Stir them regularly as they will cook quickly and you want them to cook evenly. They will take about 2 minutes to wilt down. Serve immediately. [/print_this]