Strawberries and Pea Shoot Toasts

Wednesdays, in Seattle summers, are organic market days. The cobblestone road outside the Pike Place Market gets blocked off to traffic, and organic farms set-up their stands with all organic, locally grown produce. Sure, the rest of the Pike Place market is teeming too, with other fresh ingredients and flowers a plenty, but not all of that is local or organic. This early in the year, the number of organic stands and the variety of their offerings are still pretty small, but that’s no worry. There is still plenty of early season deliciousness to choose from… fruits and greens that I’ve been longing for now for months.

Yesterday, I picked up a basket of beautiful organic strawberries and a big bundle of pea shoots. Today, I played with them.

The flavors go so well together if you just barely wilt the pea shoots in some olive oil, and give the strawberries a slice. They are fantastic served as little tarts with some pepper jelly and flake salt, or simply tossed together as a salad with a drizzle of balsamic syrup.

For the pepper jelly, it is easy to make your own or you can just use store bought.

Strawberry and Pea Shoot Toasts
makes 3 toasts

1 piece of bread, crust removed
3 pea shoots
1 t pepper jelly
3 small strawberries
olive oil
flake sea salt

Preheat the oven to 400F. Cut the bread into three rectangles. Place the bread on a parchment lined baking sheet, and toast in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until the edges become golden brown (the bottoms will be darker). Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Prepare the pea shoots by washing well, and then removing any thick or tough stems, preserving the leaves. Heat a saute pan with a splash of olive oil a bit, and add the pea shoots. Give them a little toss to coat them in the oil. Saute for about 1 minute, or until the leaves start to become a slightly darker green.

Remove the stem from the strawberries and slice into quarters or eighths.

Spread a bit of the pepper jelly on the toast. Pile on a wilted pea shoot, top with the strawberries and sprinkle on a few flakes of salt.

Pepper Jelly

(adapted from Happy in the Kitchen, Michel Richard)
makes about 1/2 cup

1 medium anaheim chile, seeded and minced
1/4 cup sweet onion, minced
1 T lemon juice
2 t sugar
2 t cider vinegar
1 t pectin liquid

Combine all ingredients except the pectin in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring to keep from burning. Increase heat and add the pectin. Bring back to a boil. Then, reduce heat again, and simmer for 4 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from heat and cool. Keeps refrigerated for about 3 days.

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