At the farmers’ market on Saturday, I bought some pea shoots. I’ll admit, I hadn’t eaten breakfast and was rather hungry, so I bought about six cups of pea shoots. I was excited, too, which might have contributed to my overbuying; I’ve never seen them for sale, so I’ve never had pea shoots except for at restaurants. On those occasions, there have always been about four or five artfully arranged atop whatever I’ve ordered, and it’s never been enough to satisfy.
So this was my chance to do what I like to do with produce: overindulge.
Is that possible?
I didn’t have a plan for them; I knew I could eat them as sprouts or wilt them slightly. I came into the kitchen around 4:45 that afternoon. I remembered that we still had some potatoes from a batch Chimp had bought a while back for something. I used to be such a potato lover, and I hardly eat them any longer. There were four, though, and I figured I could make Chimp some mashed potatoes and throw some wilted pea shoots on top of them. That would be nice; potatoes and peas, very homey.
I also had some chickpeas soaked and ready to cook. I could put pea shoots on top of those like I usually do spinach or arugula with some lemon and olive oil, I thought. That would be nice too, though it would be kind of a weird dinner…mashed potatoes and chickpeas, both with pea shoots.
Then, like a bolt out of the blue, I thought Peas and potatoes. Samosas. Samosas sometimes have chickpeas in them too. Holy cats, this could be great! Spiced potatoes, garlic- and red pepper-spiked chickpeas, garlic-laced pea shoots with a tiny squeeze of lemon…oh boy. This could seriously go somewhere.
What I ended up with, as you see above, is a sort of naked samosa, made up of the typical ingredients in samosa filling, except the peas are replaced by pea shoots. It tastes phenomenal. I have to say, I think these are some of the best potatoes I’ve ever made – and I have made many, many potatoes.
I’ve doubled the potato recipe from what I made in order to create an even number of servings of all the components.
For the chickpeas:
2 1/2 c. dry chickpeas, soaked at least eight hours or overnight, drained
oil for the pan (twice)
1 T. garlic, minced
1/4 t. red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
For the potatoes: (you could replace the butter with oil and the cream with plain soymilk in order to make this vegan)
8 medium-sized baking potatoes (not gargantuan, not piddly), peeled and cut into chunks
2 T. butter
1 T. oil
2 t. ground cumin
2 t. ground coriander seed
2 t. paprika
1 t. cayenne powder
1 t. turmeric
2 T. cream
salt and pepper
For the pea shoots:
A little oil for the pan
1 t. garlic
6 c. fresh pea shoots
salt and pepper
a squeeze of lemon juice
If using a pressure cooker, place the chickpeas with water to cover, oil to prevent foaming and salt to taste in the cooker. Bring to pressure and cook 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the pressure to drop on its own. The chickpeas may be set aside at this point.
If not using a pressure cooker, place the chickpeas with water to cover and salt in a regular pot; bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and allow to cook until tender, one hour or more.
Or open about four cans of chickpeas, rinse them and dump them in a bowl.
Bring enough water to cook the potatoes in to boil in a deep saucepan. When the water comes to a boil, salt generously and add the potatoes. Reduce the heat slightly, and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, about ten minutes. Drain them, reserving the cooking water in a bowl, and allow them to sit in the colander to dry thoroughly as you get the spices going.
In the now-empty potato-cooking saucepan, heat the butter and oil together until hot but not smoking. Do not allow the butter to burn. Add the spices and stir a few times, until they become aromatic. Remove the pan from the heat.
If using a potato ricer, rice the potatoes into the pan, then add the cream and about 1/2 c. of the cooking water and fold in the spices and liquid thoroughly. Set aside.
If using a potato masher, place the drained potatoes back in the pan, add the cream and about 1/2 c. of the cooking water and mash thoroughly to combine. Set aside.
At this point, the remaining potato water may be discarded. Use the same colander to drain the chickpeas, again, reserving the cooking water. Place the chickpea pan over medium-high heat, and add a little oil to the pan. When hot but not smoking, add the garlic and red pepper flakes and stir briskly. Do not allow the garlic to color. Add the chickpeas back to the pan, and toss gently to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.
In a large sauté pan, heat the oil for the pea shoots. When it is hot but not smoking, add the garlic, stirring briskly, and then immediately add the pea shoots. It will only take a few moments for them to wilt – turn them with tongs rather than a spoon or spatula. Remove from the heat a moment before you think they’re done. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
To serve, place a serving of mashed potatoes on a plate, top with chickpeas and pea shoots.
Makes four servings.