Friday, June 27, 2008

Aw shoot

I've been reading here and there online about sprouts. I even caught a spot on Martha Stewart a few weeks back where she showed off her fancy stacking petri dishes, like "oooh, ahhh look at me I have fancy stacking glass dishes to grow my own sprouts for my delicious homemade organic salad with cranberry sherry vinaigrette, blah, blah, blah."

Oh. Sorry. So anyway- I've never been huge on sprouts but apparently they're all the rage. And last weekend when we made our weekly pilgrimage to Ballard for the Sunday farmer's market- we came upon a vendor selling all kind of sprouts. Broccoli, Pea, and Sunflower are the few I remember but they also sold a small variety of herbs like lemon thyme, thai basil, chives and french tarragon (oh mondieu!). We were shopping with a friend of ours who recently moved into a new house so we had planned to pick up a small housewarming gift in the shape of a potted herb or tomato starter. But when the vendor offered to let us sample some of the sprouts, I couldn't resist. The sunflower sprout had a very dry, bean-like taste but the pea sprouts- oh, were they ever good. They have [logically] a very green-pea flavor but they are light and crunchy with these strong little tendrils that taste so incredibly fresh. I'm in love with our newest houseplant. We were told it was totally reasonable to cut them regularly and the new shoots would grow back in a number of days. Water once a day and allow for the excess to drain out through the perforated plastic container.

Our first true culinary application was alongside a homemade pasta dish in a simple salad. I cut the shoots into three inch bits and tossed them with small wedges of fresh tomato, dressed it with a splash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar and ground some fresh salt and pepper over the top. Delicious. And when the pasta left something to be desired (I neglected to sauce it properly), mixing the salad in added an extra crunch as the pea sprouts held up against the warm pasta and added a sweetness to the other vegetables.

This little plant packs a punch unlike any other and I highly recommend it as an addition to any kitchen.

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