The farmer’s market is starting to show signs of new growth! This week I picked up some pea shoots (aka pea tendrils) to heat up in some garlic and pair with leftover mashed potatoes and kielbasa. Pea shoots are something that I fell in love with at Szechuan restaurants after going with co-workers who grew up with the food and would order a large swath of dishes for the table to share. It was always amazing to see what would come out of the kitchens, items that were clearly not on the menu written in English, and most were simply spiced not spicy. Those were good meals and while I’ll leave most of the traditional dishes to others, I couldn’t help but grab pea shoots once I saw them at the market. Since then I’ve learned that you can eat them in salads as greens since they are so tender or you can cook them up quickly to serve as a side-dish which is exactly what I did here!
To make this and have everything come out hot at the same time I cooked with two pans. While I generally avoid this, cooking the garlic and kielbasa concurrently was the only way to keep things warm since potatoes cool so quickly. The first pan had the kielbasa rounds which were fried over a medium heat until they were browned on both sides. The rounds are then removed and mashed potato patties were placed in their fat and allowed to brown before being flipped. I pressed the potatoes into the pan. Don’t press the potatoes into the pan! It will make it much more challenging to remove the delicious bits that browned in the kielbasa juices.
The second had garlic with 3T EVOO over medium low to remove the raw garlic taste. Once you see any browning, lower the temperature to low just to keep the oil warm. Just before I pulled the potatoes out of the pan I raised the temperature to medium and threw the pea shoots in to wilt. They’re delicate so I used tongs to mix the greens gently to speed the cooking process since they can’t wait around like kale or spinach. This shouldn’t take more than 2 minutes. They ‘melt’ very quickly – as soon as most of the leaves have wilted, you’re done. My beau grabbed his plate and piled it up with greens (even more than you see here!) while I grabbed a few photos to share with you. It took two whole bites before he let me know that these are a welcome addition to the ’round-up’!