give peas a chance


Pea Tendril Salad with Smoked Trout and Pickled Shallot

Ah, spring. Birds are chirping, buds are blooming, the grass is finally turning grassy again. Here is a delicate salad that celebrates the season: bright and green and bursting with flavor. Pea tendrils, crisp and sweet, mingle with fresh peas, tiny dice of buttery avocado and shards of sumptuous smoked trout. Quickly pickled shallot adds a tangy component; horseradish crème fraîche is the creamy bite that brings this wonderful salad together. Welcome spring with open arms.


I’ve been digging microgreens lately–these tender baby seedlings of plants like kale, arugula, red mustard and pea actually pack more nutrients than their mature parents. They are tender and very tasty; Whole Foods currently carries a variety by Good Water Farms and I’ve been happy to find many uses for them. If you can’t find them near you, watercress makes a nice substitute in this salad.


In a small bowl, stir together crème fraîche and horseradish, seasoning to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.


Thinly slice shallot and combine with white wine vinegar in a small bowl. Allow to sit and soften for at least 5 minutes, or up to an hour.


Bring a small saucepan of water to boil; add salt and fresh peas. Bring back to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until tender to the bite. Drain and rinse with cold water.


Pick trout flesh from its skin, removing any pin bones you might find, and break into large chunks.


Finely dice a ripe avocado.


On a platter, lay out pea tendrils. Scatter peas and avocado dice on top and drizzle with grapeseed oil, fleur de sel and fresh cracked pepper. Nestle chunks of smoked trout in the salad and sprinkle pickled shallot, with some of its vinegar, over all. Spoon the horseradish crème fraîche on the side and serve immediately.


Adapted from bon appétit
Serves 2-4:

1/3 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large shallot
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
4 ounces smoked trout fillet
1 ripe avocado
2 cups pea tendrils, shoots or watercress
1 to 2 tablespoons neutral oil, like grapeseed
fleur de sel or sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper


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