Sunday, June 14, 2009

Springtime: English Peas

Early this morning I finished planting our garden, including English shelling peas. A few hours later I stumbled upon a big bag of them at my local farmer's market. Recalling a Bistro Elan appetizer from springs past, I set out to create pea blinis on a bed of pea shoots.

I started with the blini, hoping to use both the buckwheat flour we had on hand and crushed, fresh peas. I found a vegan recipe for buckwheat pancakes that I adjusted slightly, halving the recipe, removing the sugar and adding roughly 1 cup of blanched, crushed peas.

For the pea shoots, a quick Google of "sauteed pea shoots" told me that olive oil and garlic where the way to go. Sauteed pea shoots are a bit like sauteed spinach, which wasn't what I was after. I've also had pea shoots served as a salad, simply tossed with vinaigrette. Also not quite what I was after. I decided to do both and mix the two.

A site I discovered in my wanderings is worth noting: Pea Shoots. One recipes cited there, Pea Shoot and Walnut Pesto, gave me the inspiration for the vinaigrette, which used toasted walnut oil as the base. The final dish was a keeper.

Buckwheat Pea Blinis with Wilted Pea Shoots
Serves 2 generously
.5 cup soymilk
.5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1.5 tablespoons oil (I used canola)
.25 cup buckwheat flour
2 tablespoons all purpose flour, unbleached
.5 teaspoon salt
.5 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup blanched peas, crushed

Mix soy milk and vinegar, set aside. Combine dry ingredients, mix well. Mix oil into soy milk and vinegar, mix well. Combine dry mixture, wet mixture, and peas -- do not over mix.

Heat pan over medium heat, brush with oil. Drop batter onto pan (I used a medium cookie scoop) and cook as you would pancakes.

... meanwhile

2T toasted walnut oil
1T vinegar of choice (I used citrus champagne)
.5t dijon mustard
.5t salt
a few cranks of white pepper

Pea Shoots

.5 pound pea shoots, evenly divided
1 large clove garlic, minced
1T toasted walnut oil

Heat the walnut oil over medium heat. Saute garlic for a minute or two and add one half of the pea shoots (roughly .25 pounds). Saute till wilted, set aside. Combine raw pea shoots, wilted pea shoots and vinaigrette, mix well.

Divide pea shoot mixture onto two plates. Top with blinis and serve.
For the record, I never liked peas until I had fresh peas. If you have not had the chance, they are well worth pursuing. Canned peas, even frozen peas, are nothing like the real thing. I hope those we planted today grow forth and prosper!

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