I adore the joy of discovery. This week, it was pea shoots. I’ve seen recipes using them for years, but had never actually seen them in real life. I know, farmer’s markets have them in the spring, but getting out of bed at the crack of dawn on a Spring Saturday on the off chance that I’ll find an item I’m not even sure I like? Sorry, not happening. Happily, received a bag of them in this week’s CSA box. Lots of recipes feature pea shoots with peas of various sorts, but Mr. Grey Cat doesn’t eat peas, so…. a little trip out to the Epicurious archives yielded Pea Shoot and Spinach Salad with Bacon and Shiitakes. The Mister NEVER says no to bacon (smart man, yes?!), so I knew I was on to something. I have to admit that after trying a few shoots (I call it quality control) I almost didn’t make the dish. Not because it didn’t sound good, but because it was all I could do not to eat the rest of the shoots by the handful. They were so sweet and delicate and tender. Anyway, the salad turned out beautifully. Green things, crisp bacon (regular bacon, I didn’t have the double-smoked stuff), mmmmmm. And the mushrooms take it over the top in the good category. So Pea Shoots get a check mark the AWESOME category. Oh, I’ll be getting out of bed on Saturdays in the Spring now.
Pea Shoot and Spinach Salad with Bacon and Shiitakes
- 1 (1/4-pound) piece double-smoked bacon*
- 3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3/4 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps quartered
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
- 1/2 tablespoon coarse-grain mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 oounces fresh pea shootspea shoots (4 cups)
- 4 ounces baby spinach leaves (4 cups)
- 1 bunch fresh chives, cut into 1-inch lengths
- 6 radishes, cut into matchsticks
Cut bacon into 3/4-inch-thick matchsticks and cook in a heavy skillet over moderately low heat, stirring, until crisp but still chewy, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.
Pour off fat from skillet and add 1 1/2 tablespoons oil, mushrooms, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are golden, about 8 minutes, then cool.
Whisk together lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large salad bowl until blended.
Add pea shoots and spinach to dressing and toss to coat. Add bacon, mushrooms, chives, and radishes and toss again.