Do you have opinions on pea shoots? I sure didn't until a few days ago when I snatched up a package of them solely because I'd never cooked with them before. It was time I figured out at least to cook with them. Of course, if you have any recommendations I'd love to hear them. But the one I settled from Saveur turned out to be a great place to start.
Though it tastes nothing like a traditional spinach and bacon salad, it's prepared in much the same way. Bacon is cooked, a vinaigrette is made with the rendered fat, and it's then poured over the greens. Everything slightly wilts. But instead of ending up rich and filling, it seems vibrant and clean. That's mostly because pea shoots have a much lighter flavor than spinach, and the cool shrimp are crisp and succulent.
If you're in the need of a light meal between the heavy winter stews, this might be the answer.
- ½ pound medium (21-25 count) raw shrimp, shell-on
- 6 strips thick-cut bacon, chopped
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- ⅓ cup malt vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 8 ounces pea shoots
- ½ cup fresh chives, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped
Fill heavy-bottomed saucepan halfway with water, and bring to a boil. Add shrimp and cook until shrimp turn pink, one to two minutes. Drain in colander, and transfer to medium-sized bowl filled with ice water. Let sit until cold, about five minutes. Drain shrimp, peel, and then set aside.
Clean out saucepan and return to stove. Add bacon and turn heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring often, until bacon is crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove bacon with slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels.
Add shallots to saucepan with bacon fat. Cook, stirring often, until shallots are soft, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt, and black pepper. Cook until hot, about 30 seconds. Turn off heat, add pea shoots, and toss until wilted.
Divide pea shoots between four plates, and top with shrimp. Sprinkle with bacon, chives, and tarragon.