What? Trendy tendrils. Long used in Chinese cooking, pea shoots are just beginning to find popularity on menus in this country. The pretty green tendrils, actually the leaves and shoots of the young pea plant, are a spring delicacy in China. Pea shoots, called dau miu in their native land, may be grown from a variety of pea plants but are traditionally culled from immature snow peas. Lee Jones, who grows them at his farm in Ohio (and who has experimented with 27 varieties), says his father considers the whole thing a puzzlement. "He's an old-time farmer--you grow the peas for the peas and the corn for the corn. We harvest them at three or four inches, and he just shakes his head." Pea shoots are sweet, tender, and have a strong pea taste. You cook them as you might any green--very quickly in hot oil with, perhaps, salt, garlic, and a splash of sherry or rice wine.
When? March 16, Greg Parks, Four Columns Inn
March 25, John Villa, Park View at the Boathouse