Have you ever tasted the tenderest of pea shoots? The light green stems with long, curly tendrils are one of the most elegant things you can eat. The arrival of pea shoots in the markets is one of the surest signs summer is on it's way. Here's a preparation for a summer dish that couldn't be simpler.
Roasted potatoes are a staple in my home throughout the year. In the winter, I like soft and heavy Russets because they stand up to sharp cheeses and hot salsas; but in the spring and summer, nothing beats a tender fingerling. You cannot go wrong just roasting them in a hot oven with a little oil and salt. Only a smidge better is tossing the roasted potatoes in your favorite pesto with pea shoots, Pecorino and toasted hazelnuts. Just naming these light and lovely ingredients makes me hungry!
This is comforting picnic food. It's great as a side served warm or room temperature, though these dressy spuds have also entered my breakfast rotation right out of the fridge. This recipe is malleable and adaptable to what you have on hand to toss into the mix, so don't be shy to change things up — although this particular combination of tangy greens and tender potato is divine.
Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Pea Shoots, Pesto and HazelnutsServes 4 to 6 as a side dish
1 pound fingerling potatoes (any small potato will work)
2 tablespoons canola or olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 bunch pea shoots (or 3 cups trimmed and cut into 1" pieces)
1/3 cup pesto
1/3 cup crushed hazelnuts
Pecorino cheese for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 450°F. Cut about 8-10 of the potatoes in half. Toss potatoes in 1 tablespoon oil and sprinkle with salt. Arrange on a pan lined with tin foil so that no potatoes are touching (better for crusty, roasted ends!). Roast for about 25 minutes, until golden brown.
Meanwhile, sauté the pea shoots in the remainding 1 tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until just starting to wilt, about 3-4 minutes. Put cooked pea shoots into a large bowl, and toss with roasted potatoes and pesto. If pesto is too thick, thin it out with a few tablespoons water. Finish with crushed hazelnuts and a little grated cheese.
(Images: Leela Cyd Ross)