Two quick things: 1) let's just call this dish "Peas Galore" and 2) "Peas" is a funny word after you look at it for a bit. This dish takes a veggie staple and turns it into something that is easy on the eyes, delicious on the palate, and entirely satisfying in the stomach. Originally, this recipe was minus the pea shoots and plus some asparagus, but it wouldn't be a "pearty" [Insert your own funnier, wittier play on words here] without all forms of pea. Not to mention, pea shoots are packed full of nutrition and have become rather easy to locate at your local grocery store (e.g. Trader Joe's). Just a quick nutritional rundown for you: one serving of pea shoots has seven times more Vitamin C than blueberries, eight times more Folic Acid than bean sprouts, and four times more Vitamin A than tomatoes (www.peashoots.com). Oh yeah, and these pretty little pea shoots have a sweet crunch that will trick a snack-loving mind into believing it's eating something it shouldn't be.
Alright, enough with my mini marketing campaign for pea shoots. This dish is extremely versatile and can be served as the side or the centerpiece in a great meal. Added bonus: if you're cooking for one, like moi, this dish can easily be stored in the fridge and reheated for breakfast (if you so desire), lunch, and dinner at a later date. This dish offers a bright, creamy, and fresh alternative to your run-of-the-mill grain and veggie dishes and will leave you significantly more satisfied. If you want to compliment the flavors of this dish, pair it with a vibrant white wine that will stand up to the acidity of the lemon juice. I chose a glass of Les Caves Joseph Bordeaux Blanc (50% Sauvignon Blanc, 50% Sémillon), which paired quite nicely with the savory freshness of this dish.
Israeli Couscous w/ Peas, Pea Shoots, and Sugar Snap Peas
Modified from Bon Appétit
4 tablespoon olive oil, divided
2 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced, divided
1 ½ cups Israeli couscous* (8 oz)
1 ¾ cups veggie broth (more as needed)
4 oz organic pea shoots, 1 small handful reserved
8 oz sugar snap peas, trimmed, cut diagonally into ½ inch pieces (2 ½ cups)
1 cup shelled fresh or frozen peas
⅓ cup chopped, fresh chives
½ finely shaved Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Whisk together 2 tablespoon olive oil, lemon juice, and 1 minced garlic clove in a small bowl; set aside.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add couscous, sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt, and toast until most of the couscous pearls are a golden brown (approximately 5 minutes).
3. Add 1 ¾ cups veggie broth to couscous. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until liquid is absorbed and couscous is tender (approximately 10 minutes). Add more liquid by the tablespoon if needed.
4. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in another large, nonstick skillet over high heat. Add peas, sugar snap peas, and 1 minced garlic clove. Add sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste; sauté until crisp-tender, 3-5 minutes. Just before you remove the veggies from heat, add the pea shoots and sauté until slightly wilted. Transfer veggies to a large bowl.
5. Add couscous to veggies. Drizzle lemon vinaigrette over mixture. Add chives and half of shaved Parmesan or Pecorino; toss. If needed, season with sea salt and pepper.
6. Serve each pretty mound of couscous with a few shavings of cheese and fresh pea shoots on top. Enjoy!
*Israeli couscous is a small, round, toasted pasta with grains the size of small pearls or peppercorns.