Green Pea Salad with Pea Shoots and Tarragon

Green Pea Salad with Pea Shoots and TarragonThe Vegetable Diaries
Spring break is here—which means it’s time to plant a veggie garden. I’m very excited. I haven’t had a true garden for many years. There have been too many other activities getting in the way of being able to take care of the plants. So, I am beyond motivated.

A few weeks ago I started my seeds. And, we had way too many cubic yards of good planting soil delivered that we used to fill our planter boxes. (I totally over-ordered.)

The waiting has been the hardest part. As a rule, you’re not supposed to plant until the temps stay above 50 degrees—and my patience has been running thin. I tend to jump the gun, usually planting a week or two too early. I showed better restraint this year. I did get the peas in the ground early though, mainly because they like the cold. But, I also chose a variety that is frost-resistant…just in case.

The recent weather has been great. But, the mornings have been a bit chilly. I am crossing my fingers that we are done with the frost. As of this post, all of my tomatoes are in the ground as well as the beans and peppers, both the bells and the spicier versions. I have been growing strawberries in my greenhouse which have recently exploded with so many berries. So, that’s some tastiness to look forward to. My peach tree is also showing significant signs of life.

I am experimenting with grow bags this year and I have to report that so far things are going well. I planted potatoes in them which are super easy to grow. And, from the looks of them, potatoes love grow bags. Grow bags are a great, inexpensive option for those who don’t have the space to have big planters. A friend of mine has had success growing tomatoes in grow bags. So, apartment dwellers take heart, you have options beyond a wine barrel or bulky planters.

With everything in the ground all that is left is the waiting. The peas will probably be the first to produce anything in great numbers. There’s nothing better than fresh peas right out of their pod. Although fresh picked corn on the cob might be a close second…and then there are the tomatoes. It’s great to have options!

Green Pea Salad with Pea Shoots and Tarragon Recipe
Adapted from Alex Guarnaschelli and the Food Network
Yields 4 to 6 servings

This is the ultimate salad for pea-lovers. It showcases three kinds of peas plus pea shoots—which are delicious if you have never tried them!

For the Dressing
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1-1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon capers, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon brine from the jar
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 sprigs tarragon, leaves chopped

For the Salad
Kosher salt
3/4 pound sugar snap peas, strings removed
3/4 pound snow peas, trimmed
1 cup shelled green peas
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup pea shoots
Grated Parmesan cheese for sprinkling

Make the dressing
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the mustard, lemon juice, and vinegar. Add the capers and brine and a pinch each of salt and white pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil and add the tarragon. Taste for seasoning.

Cook the sugar snap peas
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, adding salt until it tastes like seawater. While the water is coming to a boil, set a colander inside a large bowl of ice water.

Add a generous pinch of sugar to the boiling water. Drop the sugar snap peas into the boiling water and cook until they are bright green and crisp-tender (about 2 minutes). Use a slotted spoon to remove the peas from the water and transfer them to the ice water colander.

Cook the snow peas and shelled peas
Bring the water back to a boil and add the snow peas and shelled peas. Cook until they float to the surface (about 1 minute). Use the slotted spoon to remove the peas and plunge them into the ice bath with the sugar snaps.

Set aside for a couple of minutes to ensure the peas have cooled thoroughly.

Dry the peas
Drain the peas, then spread them out on a clean kitchen towel. Use another kitchen towel to gently pat them dry, then allow them to air-dry completely.

Assemble the salad
Transfer the peas to a medium-sized serving bowl and season them with salt, white pepper, and a sprinkle of sugar. Stir to blend. Toss with the dressing and pea shoots. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Taste again for seasoning and serve immediately.

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