Kathy Slack's pea shoot salad with potatoes, pearl barley and hot-smoked trout

Kathy Slack's pea shoot salad with potatoes, pearl barley and hot-smoked trout

Extracted from From The Veg Patch by Kathy Slack (Ebury Press, £25). Photography by Kathy Slack.

"Pea shoots grow anywhere. Even on a windowsill in foil trays. Poke a few holes in the bottom of a wide, shallow tub (anything the size of A4 paper or bigger) and fill with soil. Scatter some pea seeds (which are just dried peas – I’ve known old packets of dehydrated cooking peas to work) over the soil, at least 2.5cm apart, then poke them into the soil, 2cm deep. Cover the holes up, keep watered, and wait.

In a few weeks, the tray will have transformed into a slab of pea shoot turf, the tips of which can be pinched out two or three times for salads before the plant catches on and gives up the ghost. This is the salad you should make with your first harvest."

photo of kathy's pea shoot salad


Serves 2, takes 40 minutes

  • 75g pearl barley
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 200g new potatoes, scrubbed, preferably
  • Jersey Royals if in season
  • 200g natural yogurt
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 6 tbsp finely chopped green herbs (e.g. parsley, mint, dill, fennel, sorrel), plus a few extra sprigs of each, leaves picked and left whole (to serve)
  • 40g pea shoots
  • 125g frozen peas, defrosted
  • 3 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 125g hot-smoked trout


Put the pearl barley in a pan of cold water. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 30–40 minutes until cooked through – it will retain a  little bite. Drain and toss in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to prevent it sticking as it cools.

Meanwhile, gather the rest of the dish together. Cook the potatoes: halve any whoppers and put them in a saucepan of cold, salted water. Bring to the boil and cook for 10–15 minutes, or until they slice like butter, then drain.

In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt, all the lemon zest, half the lemon juice, the chopped herbs, a generous pinch of salt and a good few turns of pepper. Check the balance of seasoning, adding another kick of lemon juice if needed.

To assemble, tip the pea shoots, peas, spring onions, pearl barley and a handful of whole herb leaves into a wide salad bowl and toss gently with the remaining olive oil, a splash of lemon juice and a pinch of salt.

Arrange the warm potatoes on top, then flake over the trout.

Serve with the yogurt dressing in a bowl on the side, to spoon on top before eating.