Oooh! Ain’t she purty?? This, my friends, is a lovely, juicy, sweet pea green — an incredible part of the pea plant that, until recently, only the Asians of the world fully appreciated. This little sucker (literally a sucker, since it’s part of the actual vine of the plant) sings like Streisand raw or cooked. If you opt to pick the leaves and throw them in a salad straight from your spring garden, you’ll taste the delicate flavor of raw peas — that indescribable, almost citrus pop of spring. If you’re as lucky as I, and find these beauties in your not-at-all-wintry December garden of Southern California, you may be in the mood to pretend it really is winter, turn on your fireplace app and cook up something warm and cozy. And that’s when you heat a little olive oil in a pan and flash saute these babies until they’re barely wilted. Sprinkle with some delicious sea salt, squeeze a little chunk of lemon over the top and enjoy! Just don’t overcook them, or the little divas will most certainly cease singing and I will personally show up at your house and issue a citation. If you cook them too long, they’ll turn dull and vegetal, and, trust me, you will be sad. Real sad. If your husband happens to be the one to overcook them, you may be forced to raise your voice, weep fat tears and make his life miserable for a day . . . or two . . . or until you get a foot rub. I’m just saying, DO NOT OVERCOOK PEA GREENS.
FYI, don’t panic — you don’t have to grow the peas yourself. Across this gorgeous country of ours, we have farmers’ markets sprouting up just about every weekend. Look for them. Ask the farmers. They’ll hook you up. Also, if you wanna get a little fancy, you could quick saute the greens, add a spoonful of creme fraiche and grate a bit of fresh nutmeg over the top. Or, stir them into a light, lemony fettuccine and top with toasted, crushed almonds. Oooh! I almost forgot — I also love them stirred into buttery scrambled eggs at the last second and sprinkled with truffle salt. OK, now I’m starving — I gotta go pick some more greens.