Photograph by Ken Goodman
Above: Mario Betali
Not so long ago, pea greens (also known as pea shoots) could be found locally only at Asian and specialty food markets. Thankfully, times have changed and the colorful vegetable is becoming widely available at grocery stores and farmers’ markets. “Home cooks are taking to pea greens because they add such powerful nutrients and versatility to dishes, from salads to side dishes to entrées,” says Mario Batali, chef, author, philanthropist and co-owner of Tarry Lodge, located here in Westport as well as Port Chester and New Haven.
Pea greens are much like watercress, with edible stems and tendrils, but cook more similarly to baby spinach. “Pea greens pack a punch of spring flavor and watery satisfaction much like spring peas,” says Chef Batali. “In raw form, they can replace any traditional lettuces in a salad with other vegetables. If you’re a little more adventurous, try pea greens in pastas, stir frys or as a side with a seasonally spring protein like lamb.”
Tarry Lodge Westport incorporates pea greens into a burrata dish, one that epitomizes the season with flavors like mint and lemon. Chef Batali, who provided the recipe at right, recommends serving the dish with a crisp white wine or as the insalate to accompany one of his favorite dishes: linguine with clams.
TARRY LODGE WESTPORT
Burrata with Pea Vines and Mint
1 bunch pea tendrils
8 ounces fresh peas
1 bunch arugula
1 bunch breakfast radishes, thinly sliced
1 sprig mint, leaves picked
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/4 cup olive oil
4 two-ounce balls burrata
1. Trim off the über- thick parts of the pea vines for the tender pea tendrils.
2. Blanch the freshly shucked peas in boiling salted water for 30 seconds. Transfer into ice water and strain onto a clean towel. Do not overcook; you just want a brighter color and still have a little crunch. Trim and wash the arugula, then spin dry.
3. Toss the pea vines, peas, arugula, mint and radishes with lemon juice and olive oil.
4. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Divide the salad onto four plates making a nest for the burrata.
6. Garnish the burrata with lemon zest, flaky salt, fresh ground pepper and a good quality extra virgin olive oil.