Monday 20 October 2008

This week I'm loving...Pea Shoots

Any relation to the shamrock I wonder?!

I had my first delicious encounter with the fashionable pea shoot in Australia where they have been around for years now. Since then, I have been teased knowing that they have also been available (so near, yet so far) in the UK, in M&S & Sainsbury's for the past few years.

But you may have noticed them creeping into the country recently (as predicted by me in Food & Wine Mag's Hot 100 countdown in May!). During the summer, I spotted a few lurking in a bag of mixed leaves in Superquinn and I also managed to pick up small packs of them from Fallon & Byrne, but they were certainly hard to come by. Today I came across a lone bag in M&S on Mary St. in Dublin. Hopefully, they didn't just get the one pack in to see if us Irish picked up on it (which wouldn't surprise me!). I'd like to think they are a great hit and this was merely the last one left after the stampede.

Anyhow, if you weren't one of the pea shoot snatchers in M&S over the weekend you may not have the pleasure in knowing what they are like. The soft leaves of pea shoots have an intensely sweet pea flavour and pretty tendrils. If you have ever picked garden peas, you have most certainly caressed the shoots at the top of the pods. Apparently they have more Vitamin C than blueberrys (I hear the superfood word coming on). The growing season is from April to October, so watch out for the last of them over the next week or so.

Please show the love for pea shoots so that we can have them here for keeps! Pop the shoots into a pea risotto, a prawn stir fry or wrap (see the piccies below, styled by me & shot by Cliona O'Flaherty) or simply toss through a salad. FYI, a 50g bag of pea shoots in M&S costs € 1.35.

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