The amazing thing about pea shoots—at your local Greenmarket now—is how faithfully they mimic the flavor of peas. They’re like the three-course-dinner gum Violet Beauregarde chomps on despite Willy Wonka’s warning, but with all the kinks worked out. Quickly sautéing a few handfuls, as in this recipe from the new Japanese restaurant Niko, only enhances their sweet springlike flavor, which is good news since locally grown peas won’t make an appearance for several more weeks.
Niko’s Sautéed Pea Shoots
1 pound fresh pea shoots
1 tbs. grapeseed oil
Salt to taste
2 tbs. bonito flakes, ground in a spice grinder
1 tbs. nori, ground
1 tsp. usukuchi soy sauce
(1) Wash and dry pea shoots in a salad spinner or by patting with towels. Heat oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. (2) Add the pea shoots, season with salt, stir, and toss until wilted and slightly seared (no more than 1 minute). Remove pan from heat, and (3) add bonito flakes and nori. Drizzle with soy sauce, and mix. Serves 4.