Polenta, pea shoots, roasted tomatoes, sauvignon blanc ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

15 November 2010

Polenta, pea shoots, roasted tomatoes, sauvignon blanc

Last Sunday I woke up way too early and could not get back to sleep. By the time the clock said seven, I thought it was sufficiently late that I could get up in good conscience...except that I turned on the computer to discover that lo, it was daylight savings day, and it was actually SIX AM, and I was awake, out of bed, dressed, and active.

I went to the farmer's market much earlier than usual.

The market was totally drenched in what passes for rain in this part of California. I was actually compelled to use the umbrella! For most people this clearly registered as "DOWNPOUR," which made the whole farmer's market experience a lot emptier and therefore more easily navigable. I was there at maybe 8:30, though, after already taking a good twenty minutes to sit around in the coffeeshop and eat a bagel, so...yeah. It was possibly too early to be crowded anyway.

My fall vegetables included two varieties of kabocha squash (orange and green, and seven pounds total), a massive overload of seconds bin carrots for later soup application, and a big bag of pea shoots from my favorite Asian greens vendor.

I've had a reasonable amount of tiny pea sprouts, but I've never eaten the semi-grownup shoots. They taste just like you'd expect: like delicious fresh peas, albeit with a different texture. The stems can actually get a little tough if they get big enough, but that's ok; just chop them finely and you have no worries. Or hey, puree them into pea shoot pesto with olive oil and garlic! Oh man, I think I may know what to do with the rest of these in the near future.

However, as this was the first time I'd ever had pea shoots, I decided to just eat them mostly plain, with polenta and roasted tomatoes.

Polenta, pea shoots, roasted tomatoes, sauvignon blanc

Polenta is way, way easy and can be cooked with the greatest of ease. As, you know, indicated by the word "easy." I cooked it like I normally do, with a proportion of one cup cornmeal to four cups water, plus a teaspoon of salt. You could easily use less salt, and I think I will next time. Whisk your cornmeal with one cup water; add the rest of the water and whisk over medium-high heat; once things are definitely amalgamated and thoroughly bubbling hot, turn down the heat and switch to a spoon; stir occasionally until done. You can add butter or cheese if you so desire, but I personally think those get way too rich. Better to serve it plain.

For roasted tomatoes, just core and halve whatever good tomatoes you have lying around, then throw them in a baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil; salt lightly; add several thyme branches if you have any lying around. Roast at 400F until browned around the edges. This took ages for me, as I started with frozen tomatoes; if you do this, defrost them first. Otherwise I think this could be done in as little as twenty minutes.

Pea shoots were easy as well. I washed them whole and threw them on to wilt in some olive oil with chopped garlic. The end. Since these were so fast, I waited to cook them until the polenta and tomatoes were done.

To eat: top your polenta with the tomatoes and their juices, as well as the wilted pea shoots. Crack a little pepper over the top. Pour yourself a glass of sauvignon blanc, and have dinner.


Jes said...

Oh, those pea shoots are beautiful looking! I miss being able to get those easily. The whole meal, really, looks divine. I hope you start feeling better soon--GI issues are never fun :(

eileen said...

I think it would be relatively easy to just start them yourself, like microgreens, and just cut down a whole small patch every once in a while, but I guess such a thing has to wait for spring. I am feeling mostly better now--thank you!