Amelia Saltsman, writer, cooking teacher, and author of the award-winning Santa Monica Farmers’ Market Cookbook, revels in the farmers’ market—in the common and not so common ingredients. Pea shoots and green garlic being two in the “not so common” category.
Here are Saltsman’s suggestions for cooking with the two under utilized ingredients:
“Green garlic, also called spring garlic, is a young garlic plant pulled from the ground before the bulb forms cloves,” Saltsman explains. “It has a mild flavor with a hint of green vegetable.”
• Look for young tender-looking plants with a straight bulb end and bright green leaves.
• Use the whole plant, tops and all like green onions or scallions, in soups, sautés and salads.
• Sauté green garlic as a topping for grilled or pan-fried fish or use as the star ingredient in Green Garlic and New Potato Soup.
“Pea shoots, also called pea tendrils, are the ends of sugar snap pea plants that haven’t yet developed pods or flowers,” Saltsman says. “They add the flavor of fresh peas to a dish in a crisp leafy green form.”
• Look for tender small leaves and stems. Use the stems and curly tendril if they are tender; discard any tough parts.
• Sauté shoots in a small amount of butter or avocado oil seasoned with salt and white pepper until the shoots are shiny and bright green. Top with a squeeze of fresh lemon and serve as a quick side dish.
• Make Fava Bean and Pea Shoot Salad. Substitute, if desired, English or snap peas for the fava beans and different herbs or lettuces. Turn into a main dish by adding boiled eggs or a thick slice of feta cheese to each serving.
—By Carol M. Bareuther