I am so bored.

The produce section of my grocery store hasn’t changed its look since fall. Butternut squash; hearty greens; wilted lettuces; droopy “spring” vegetables from gazillions of miles away.

The high-end specialty stores are no better. And the farmer’s market doesn’t open for another month.

I am so bored. This time of year is deadly for vegetables.

Thank goodness for the pea shoots.

I found them this weekend:

pea shoots2

A big, beautiful, box of tender pea sprouts. I grabbed a couple of packages and felt a stir of excitement.

We ate a springtime salad of baby spinach, thinly sliced radishes, herbs and pea sprouts on Saturday:

pea shoot salad

We ate sprouts lightly sauteed in walnut oil last night.

These things take almost no time to prepare. Rinse them under cold water and slice off the ends, then cut them into pieces or use them whole. Eat the entire sprout — stem and leaves. They taste like essence of pea; boast high amounts of vitamins A and C; and pack a lovely punch of folic acid. Served raw, they’re crisp and bracing. Sauteed for a couple of minutes, they become meltingly soft (but not at all mushy).

My mood is changing … from bored to slightly more engaged in these early spring days.

Thank you, shoots.

Pea Sprout Salad

Offering a formal recipe for this seems silly … use what you have on hand. I found one asparagus in the garden, which I thinly sliced and added to the mix. I also had some mint on the counter that made a nice addition, but you should use what seems good to you. Here’s how I put together our shoot salad:

  • 1 tablespoon good sherry vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons walnut oil
  • Salt & pepper

Combine those 3 ingredient in the bottom of a salad bowl, then layer on:

  • Baby spinach leaves
  • Pea shoots, sliced to about an inch in length
  • Thinly sliced radishes
  • Thinly sliced scallions (dark and light green portions only)
  • Thinly sliced asparagus
  • Minced dill
  • Minced mint

Toss well just before serving, then watch your family’s glazed look of vegetable boredom begin to lift …

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