This winter in Southern California has been beyond strange. Towards the end of December we experienced cold temperatures and above average rain. For much of January and February, the temps hovered around 80 degrees and then all of a sudden, Mother Nature seemed to remember it was winter and last week brought back cold temps, rain, and even snow in parts of LA. Clearly, this has affected the growing season. Pea shoots are normally an early spring delicacy, but I've been seeing them at the farmers markets for at least a month now. I finally decided to pick some up and try this easy salad. I'm a new fan of pea shoots after this. I love their delicate, vaguely spinach tasting flavor. Apparently I'm not the only one of this opinion because people were snatching them up at the market. Sweet shrimp and crisp, salty bacon are a great pairing with the shoots and the sweet and sour dressing brings it all together. I'm now on the hunt for more pea shoot recipes. If you have any good ones, send them my way!
Pea Shoots with Shrimp, Bacon, and Chives
(Adapted from Saveur and Serious Eats)
Makes 2 servings
10 raw shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails on
3 strips bacon, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
8 ounces pea shoots
2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped
Fill a bowl with cold water and ice and set aside.Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil, add a good pinch of salt to the water, then add the shrimp. Cook until the shrimp turn pink, about two minutes. Drain and transfer the shrimp to the ice bath. Let sit until cold, drain, and set aside.
Clean out the saucepan and return it to the stove. Add the bacon and cook, stirring often, over medium-high heat until the bacon is crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on towels. Leave about 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat in the pan.
Add the shallots to the pan and cook until they are soft, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the vinegar, mustard, sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and black pepper. Cook until the dressing is hot, about 1 minute. Turn off the heat and add the pea shoots to the saucepan. Toss to combine with the dressing and until the pea shoots have wilted slightly.
Divide the pea shoots between plates. Top with shrimp, bacon, chives, and tarragon.