Remember that funny book called Eats, Shoots & Leaves? I thought of it at the Boulder Farmers’ Market last weekend when the good folks at Red Wagon Organic Farm handed me a tangle of pea shoots. Try them, they said, they taste like peas.
My four-year-old shot me a quizzical glance, small green leaves dangling from his fingers. The look on his face captured that same feeling recorded by author Lynne Truss in regard to comma confusion. Only my son can’t read, and his confusion was over the newfangled food this stranger was urging him to eat. I could see the thoughts swirling in his head: “Pea shoots? I like peas, but peas are round and this looks like that arugula stuff you’ve been putting on my plate…”
Before he could say anything I tasted the shoots, and following in my footsteps he cautiously followed suit. They were crisp, fresh, light and perfumed with a subtle pea taste. In other words, they were delicious. We bought a bag, delighted to have discovered something new.
And now, a few days later, we enjoyed them with fried eggs for a simple summer dinner, dressed lightly with lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and parmesan cheese shavings. We were told they are good cooked ever so briefly and served with fish or mixed with other greens, but I am still so happy to be eating fresh greens after a winter of root vegetables that I’ll stick with the salad.