Thursday, March 25, 2010

Pea Greens

Pea greens are exactly that - the green leaves and shoots of the pea plant. They are spring-only fare, and when we brought home our CSA bundle last night, I couldn't wait to try them.

Delicate tendrils.

I read a bit online about the pea greens and decided to abide by the recommendation to remove the woody stems. This was very good advice. The woodier, stemier parts that snuck into the final dish were a tough, chewy texture that wasn't overly pleasant. But the taste - fresh, with an essence of peas, and a somewhat hearty texture reminiscent of Swiss chard or kale.

To prepare them as a simple side dish, I washed the bunch in a big bowl of water, then pulled the leaves from the stems. I kept some of the tendrils and flowers but eliminated most of the stems. Then I washed again in my trusty Oxo salad spinner, avoiding the obsessive drying that salad requires by leaving them a bit damp.

I heated up about a tablespoon of olive oil in a big, deep saute pan, then added a clove's worth of mashed garlic (using a frozen minced garlic product from Trader Joe's). I added the pea greens, plus a healthy dose of salt, and sauteed until they wilted down, stirring constantly. To finish, I squeezed on some fresh lemon juice, and -


We ate the pea greens alongside one of my guilty pleasures - a grilled cheese sandwich.

I probably wouldn't seek out the pea greens, as their prep took a bit of time. The leaves are relatively small and require some work to remove from the stems, making this side a slower choice than spinach or chard. But for something different and seasonal, they were fabulous! I am so grateful that I have such easy access to these beautiful, unique fruits and veggies that practically just show up on my doorstep (thanks, husband!!).

All in all, pea greens were a relative success! I wonder when the peas are coming?

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