Saturday, April 14, 2012

Seasonally spring: Sweet Peas

 Spring is in the air, as is my excitement over spring veggies!

Peas are one of my favorite spring veggies, something my parents would never have guessed. As a kid, most peas I met were of the mushy, gray, canned variety - not the sweet, nearly crunchy orbs you can get fresh or even frozen.
Finding fresh pea pods at the farmer's market can be like striking gold - peas are best when they're fresh so grab a bunch when they're looking good locally, otherwise I stick to high quality frozen varieties.

Shelling peas is as simple as popping the pod open (it should be crunchy & snap open) then gently popping the little gems out of their jacket into a small bowl. You might wish to blanch them depending on your recipe.

As a new pea advocate, I wanted to share a few of my favorite recipes.

  • French Peas & Ham from Serious Eats
    Fresh peas are amazing in this dish. I have used Canadian bacon instead of ham, then added a dash of salt. This dish calls for a herb I'd never used, Chervil but it really makes the dish so don't skip it!
  • Creamy Pea and Asparagus Soup

    This healthy soup can be made vegetarian or even vegan and still be as creamy and rich and delicious - the trick? Using a russet potato to add starch, and blending the soup thoroughly emulsifying the olive oil and whipping in some air to keep it light.
  • Fried Rice
    Make mine bacon. I know... this isn't a spring dish but it's really one of my favorite things to do with frozen peas - especially for breakfast. The sweet pop of the peas in what can be an otherwise dull or salty dish makes all the difference.

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