When my mother recently gave me this beautiful porcelain dish, I knew immediately what I wanted to do with it. It’s old, faded, delicate, and needs something fresh and new to restore its vibrancy.
I made this salad with young, tender pea shoots. If you planted peas in your garden a month ago, you have pea shoots emerging now. If not, you can find them at farmers’ markets and specialty grocery stores. The shoots are the green leaves and tendrils that grow before the flowers and peas form.
Notes on pea shoots: Any type of pea plant will provide tasty shoots, but sugar pod peas are the easiest types to grow for shoots and tendrils, since they tend to shoot up faster and stay light and crisp. All parts of the pea plant are edible. As the pea leaves and stems mature though, they tend to get tough and stringy. When they’re young, the pea shoots are tender, crisp and delicious. The same goes for those curly tendrils the pea plants use to hold on to supports as they grow.
If you can’t get your hands on any pea shoots, don’t dispair, you can still make this salad with baby greens, arugula, spinach, or other favorite tender greens.
I love adding flowers to salads! Pansies are one of the easiest flowers to grow, they’re also very mild and fresh tasting, so they marry well with the pea shoots.
Even though the salad puts on a good show with its innate beauty, it’s really all about the dressing. The dressing, looking so unobtrusive tucked away under gorgeous showy greens, is a goddess in disguise.
4 cups of fresh pea shoots (or other baby greens)
1/2 cup crumbled chèvre
1/4 cup pecans, broken
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Several edible flowers (optional)
2 Tablespoons Greek yogurt
2 Tablespoons white wine
1 Tablespoon tangerine or regular olive oil
(add a squeeze of fresh orange or tangerine if you can’t find flavored olive oil)
1 Tablespoon blue agave syrup
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
Pinch of sea salt
Layer pea shoots or greens, chèvre, pecans, and cranberries in a bowl or on 4 salad plates and repeat. Whisk together yogurt, wine, olive oil, agave, basil, and sea salt. Drizzle some of the dressing onto the salad and pass around the remainder at the table.