Unlike a conventional CSA with a produce farmer, where I think the sheer quantity and new-to-me vegetables would be overwhelming for a novice cook like me, I much prefer the route of trying and experimenting with different varieties at my own pace. If you can believe it, I tried parsnips and kale for the first time in the past year.
Having challenged myself to visit the City Market every week this year, I’m finding it even easier to do this, as I am now even more aware of the burgeoning seasonal inventory that changes every week. And though I may not pick up that produce item the first time around, being able to identify it, and realizing that we can grow it in Alberta is the first step for me.
Last Saturday, I couldn’t resist buying a beautiful bouquet of pea tendrils from Sundog Organics (their lovely displays of rustic baskets alone could get me to relinquish my wallet, I think). Though I had originally intended to throw them into an odds and ends stir-fry (made up of whatever was nearing the end of its life in the crisper), I thought better of it, and began searching for a recipe that would more appropriately showcase the tendrils.
A simple, warm pea tendril salad with mushrooms and shallots ended up fitting the bill, mostly because I had all of the ingredients required, and because I wouldn’t have the opportunity to accidentally overcook the delicate greens.
Eaten raw, the pea tendrils were crisp and sweet, and would make a lovely garnish or an addition to a mixed green salad. In this warm salad, they retained their fresh bite, contrasting nicely with the softened, buttery mushrooms. It would make a great starter dish for a dinner party, or a light accompaniment with fish.
Wilted pea tendril salad with mushrooms
Have you tried any new items from the City Market lately?