On Your Mark, Get Set: Party With Pea Shoots
By Megan Chromik
When I saw Sarah’s recipe for fried tofu with spring vegetables and peanut sauce, I was immediately drawn to the spring vegetables, specifically the pea shoots. I had actually never eaten them before, and this seemed like the perfect excuse to give them a try. I did some research, learning about the flavor of pea shoots (similar to peas) and the things they pair well with (quite a long list), and I carefully plotted out my recipe.
Originally, I wanted to make stuffed shells, filled with a ricotta and baby artichoke mixture and topped with lemony pea shoots. But the more I thought about it and the more recipes I perused, the more I realized I would have to bake the stuffed shells with some sort of sauce. Red sauce didn’t match what I wanted my finished dish to look like, and alfredo just sounded too heavy and like too much for the pea shoots to contend with.
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As I tried to think of some way to incorporate the ingredients I wanted to pair with the pea shoots (ricotta and lemon) while still giving the pea shoots center stage, I got the crazy idea to bake baguettes and make crostini topped with ricotta and pea shoots tossed with a lemon dressing. (Sarah’s making tofu from scratch gave me the confidence to make a component for my dish from scratch as well.) I decided this would be the perfect recipe to make when throwing a spring fling since it would make a full tray of appetizers for guests to munch on.
While some people go shopping first, I usually come up with recipes first and then set out to gather my ingredients. Sadly, at the time I was preparing this recipe, our farmers markets here in Boston had not opened yet (there are a handful open now, and more will be opening in the coming weeks), so I headed to my local Whole Foods, which is actually a terrific source for local food (I often encounter local vendors handing out samples and talking about their farms).
I scoured the bins and shelves and found pea shoots grown in Gloucester, Mass., a town just north of here, and ricotta made in Vermont. I used King Arthur Flour for the baguettes for many reasons but one in particular being that King Arthur Flour makes a strong commitment to sustainability. While its headquarters are now in Vermont, King Arthur Flour was actually founded in Boston in 1790, so I think of it as a local company. I actually bought the yeast I used for this recipe at the King Arthur Flour Store in Vermont during my last visit there.
I hope you’ll come back on Thursday to see how my baguettes turned out!
Editors’ Note: We are pleased to announce that we will be having a King Arthur Flour giveaway this Thursday in conjunction with the conclusion of Megan’s recipe. It’s our first giveaway, and we’re pretty excited about it, we hope you come by to participate. See you Thursday!
Megan lives in the Boston area and writes about Boston-area restaurants and events as well as her kitchen adventures over on her blog, Delicious Dishings.