One of my favorite things about getting vegetables from a CSA is that you often get things that you’ve never cooked with before and probably would never have picked up on your own from the grocery store. And that you then use as inspiration for an entire meal. That was the case with the Black Spanish Radish, which I turned into a delicious fresh vegetable slaw with yellow carrots, red onions, and cabbage, and which in turn was a perfect foil for a rich, creamy, Panko-Crusted Macaroni and Cheese. Same for the Watermelon Radishes, that become a multicolor garnish for some fabulous fish tacos.
And that is the case now, with the Pea Shoots. Once I had them in hand, I knew that they had to be showcased somehow. After playing around with a few ideas, this is what I came up with: Seared Sea Scallops with Sautéed Pea Shoots, Garlic Chips, Beer-Butter Sauce, and a Pea Shoot Gremolata.
Seared Sea Scallops with Sauteed Pea Shoots (serves 2)
- 5-6 sea scallops, dry packed
- 6 oz. pea shoots
- 5 cloves garlic, 2 minced and three thinly sliced
- 1 medium lemon, zested, about 1 tablespoon
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup beer
- olive oil
First, combine the lemon zest, the 2 minced garlic cloves, and one tablespoon of minced pea shoots for the gremolata, and set aside. Next, take the sea scallops and after making sure that the tough ligament is removed, season them with salt and freshly ground pepper. In one medium skillet, add about a tablespoon of olive oil, and heat it on medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the 3 cloves of thinly sliced garlic. Cook until crisp and browned, about 2 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside, leaving the oil in the skillet. At the same time, on another burner set to medium-high, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Once that is melted and bubbling, and the pan is fully heated, add the scallops. Once a good golden sear has developed, after about only 40 (to maximum 60) seconds, flip the scallop, and repeat the process. Scallops cook quite quickly, and you don’t want to overcook them. Really, once that golden sear is present, and they wiggle just a bit less, you are set. Once done, remove the scallops from the pan, and set aside. Quickly, in the still hot pan, de-glaze with some beer, I used Red Stripe as that was what I was currently imbibing, and quickly reduce the sauce. At the same time, add the rest of the pea shoots to the skillet that you cooked the garlic in with the reserved oil. Stir the pea shoots in the oil, and once wilted, after about a minute, remove from the heat. This whole process goes by in just a few minutes, so this is a fast, quick, and very easy meal. To assemble the dish, place the wilted pea shoots on the plate, topped with the garlic chips strewn about. Then, place a scallop (or two) in the middle, and drizzle the beer-butter reduction on top. Lastly, place a small mound of the pea shoot gremolata on top of the scallops as a garnish. And a delicious dinner is served. In about 15 minutes.