>Spring Week 6: Sweet Salad Onions, Pea Shoots, and Mint


Clockwise from Left:
• Pea Shoots
• Sweet Salad Onions
• Purple Mustard Greens
• Kale
• Fresh Mint
• Beets with Greens

• Salad Greens
• Mint
• Stinging Nettles

Hard to believe we were just complaining about the cold, wet spring. Now, overnight it’s midsummer. It was 85 here yesterday, supposed to e 90 today, and there’s a flood watch! The river was really high yesterday, I presume because the hot temperatures are melting the above-average snowpack. The beautiful thing is that we are finally planting! Yay!

Every once in a while we get a surprise crop, and they’re especially nice to have in the spring, when we are sometimes short of items. The Salad Onions are one of those surprises. They are “Walla Walla Sweet” onions that regrew after harvesting last year, and you can use them raw or cooked, bottoms and tops both. They’ll hold us over until the green onions are ready in a few weeks.

I know a lot of people are at a loss when it comes to mint. But, let me tell you, I’ve been experimenting over the years. One of my favorite “farmers market leftover” meals used pea shoots, mint, fresh goat cheese (chevre) and pasta. Here’s what I did: I trimmed the ends off of the pea shoots at the rubber band, blanched them in boiling salted water until bright, and then drained them. I cooked some pasta (we use a package at a meal, I think it’s about 12 ounces), and while it was cooking I mooshed up the chevre with a little milk or hot water from the pot until it was creamy. Then I chopped the mint and tossed it in, roughly chopped the pea shoots and tossed them in with the chevre and mixed them together. When the pasta was done I drained it and mixed it all up with a bit of salt and pepper. Voila! The kids and Mike loved it, and it only took about 15 minutes. The pea shoots and mint complemented each other nicely.

Mint also goes well with beets. I made another pasta salad with roasted or boiled beets, chopped up cooked beet greens, a little chopped sweet onion and chopped mint. I have put raisins in it before too, and a touch of salt and pepper. It’s tasty too.

Don’t be afraid to experiment. Just add a leaf here and there to find out what goes together. I once told Chris Keff (the owner/chef of Flying Fish) that I wasn’t a chef or anything, I just tried to make food that tasted good, and she told me that that’s all that a chef does. It doesn’t matter if it’s fancy and complicated, if it doesn’t taste good and no-one eats it, then it’s not worth anything.

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