Pea Shoot Salad & Irish Soda Bread

One of my favourite ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day is by enjoying green food. When I was young, I remember eating sandwiches made with green bread. I’m sure the bread was simply coloured with green dye, but it just seemed to taste different with that burst of colour. This year, we thought we’d keep it healthier with a colourful green salad. With a desire to get out of this winter rut, I can’t wait for spring fresh greens packed full of chlorophyll and other goodness from the sunshine. Until then, we’ve got a spring-ish salad that will add some freshness to your diet and a burst of sunny flavour your tastebuds will love. For this salad, we paired together just a few of my favourites: rich creamy avocado, spring pea shoots and citrusy pink grapefruit. If you’ve never tried them, pea shoots have a unique taste of spring and summer with a delicate pea flavour. Pea shoots are perfect for a St. Paddy’s Day salad, as they look similar to clover leaves.

Another delicious way to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day is by making a loaf of Irish Soda Bread. This bread is easy to make and because it doesn’t require rising time you can enjoy it in 50 minutes or less (about 10 minutes to make and 40 minutes to bake). The Irish Soda Bread goes really well with this refreshing simple salad.

Avocado, Pea Shoot & Pink Grapefruit Salad
Makes 4 servings or 2 large lunch-sized salads.

1 ripe avocado, sliced
1 pkg pea shoots (about 50g)
1 pink grapefruit
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Segment the pink grapefruit by cutting off both ends of the grapefruit. Set the fruit on one of the cut ends and slice down from top to bottom while rotating to remove peel. Over the top of a bowl to catch juices, cut down between the segments to release each segment from the white membrane dividers. Squeeze white membranes to release remaining juice. Reserve juice to sprinkle on avocado slices to prevent browning.
In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Combine avocado slices, pea shoots and pink grapefruit segments on a large salad plate. Drizzle with dressing and any remaining pink grapefruit juice.

Irish Soda Bread
Recipe from James Beard’s Beard on Food.   
Makes 1 round loaf.

3 cups whole wheat flour (we used our Urban Grains CSA white whole grain flour)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 to 2 cups buttermilk

Heat the oven to 375°F.
Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in the buttermilk, one half cup at a time, until the tough is soft but sticky.
Lightly flour a work surface and knead the dough for a minute or two. Shape the dough into a round ball and place it on a buttered baking sheet; cut a large cross in the top with a sharp knife.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the outside is brown and the loaf sounds hollow when you tap it. Serve immediately or store for up to a few days.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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