Along with ramps, pea greens are one of my favorite early-spring treats. They're a bit peppery, though not so strong as arugula, and go beautifully with mustard, honey and duck. Which is exactly how I like to celebrate their arrival. I did just that for lunch last Tuesday, before an edifying outing to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
I've shared this recipe before, but I think it bears repeating. It's easy and delicious, and makes a comfortingly simple meal out of duck legs, another of my favorite things. Yum.
Fresh Fettuccine with Pea Greens and Duck
1 duck leg, skin-side seasoned with salt and pepper
3 tsp. olive oil, separated
1 small shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, sliced
2 loosely-packed cups pea greens, separated
1 tbs. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. honey
2 tbs. dry white wine (or dry Vermouth)
1/4 cup finely chopped chives
1/4 lb. frsh fettucine, cooked according to package instructions
1/2 tbs. unsalted butter
Salt and pepper, to taste
Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small skillet set over high heat, heat 1 tsp. of the olive oil for a minute or two. Place the duck leg in the skillet, skin-side down, and let sear on high heat for a minute, then reduce heat to medium and continue to cook for three to four more minutes, until the skin is dark brown and crispy. Turn the leg over and transfer the skillet to the oven. Cook for 10 minutes, then remove from oven and let sit while you prepare the pasta.
In a medium skillet set over medium-high heat, saute the shallots in two teaspoons of the olive oil until transluscent, about one minute. Add the garlic and saute for a minute more. Add the pea greens and chives and saute for two minutes, or until wilted. Add the mustard & honey to the pan and stir into the greens, shallots and garlic, until both are evenly distributed. Cook for two minutes, then add the wine.
Stir briskly, making sure you get any good brown bits from the pottom of the skillet incorporated into the sauce, then turn the heat down until the pasta is ready. Once pasta is ready, drain (Do NOT rinse!) and add to the skillet. Turn the heat to medium and cook the pasta and sauce together for a few minutes, stirring to distribute the sauce throughout the pasta. Add the butter stir once or twice to incorporate, and turn off the heat.
Line your plate with the remaining pea greens, top with the pasta, and place the duck leg on top. Sprinkle the remaining chives over everything, season to taste, and eat!
Serves one, generously.