Peas Archive

Friday, June 11, 2010

crushed peas with smoky sesame dressing

crushed peas with smoky sesame dressing

I’m not really a pea-eater. 99 percent of pea dishes do absolutely nothing for me, no matter how buttery, minty, creamy or how close they come to winning a Top Chef honor. I enjoy them in Indian food and I won’t leave them on the rim of a bowl of pasta, but you’ll never catch me hoarding a bag of them in the freezer, waiting to meet their end on my stove.

peas in pods and then more pods

But all of this changes when I can find them fresh. Fresh peas, at least for this pea-ambivalent, are a whole different animal: they’re bright and sweet and they have the most wonderful crunch that’s impossible to retrieve from a freezer bag, where they always seem to defrost with a sigh and then a slump. The labor involved in shelling them is virtually nothing — no ends that need to be snipped, as with sugar snaps or slipping from skins, as with favas; they get from field to table with the pop of a pod, sweep of your finger and a quick roll off the counter and onto the floor — d’oh! — because like most cute things, they are also troublemakers.

many peas

Continued after the jump »

Saturday, August 8, 2009

summer pea and roasted red pepper pasta salad

summer pea and roasted red pepper pasta salad

I’ve spent way too much time this summer trying to dream up a pasta salad that wasn’t boring, or predictable, or well, you know, the kind of familiar pasta salad territory you don’t need me to go over for you. Because I love a good pasta salad, I just don’t find them often. Usually, they’re missing the freshness you’d expect from something you eat in the summer, when the markets are bursting at the seams with peak-season produce. Often the dressing is a throw-away, either a too-plain vinaigrette or heaps of mayonnaise, lending itself to more of a mass than a salad. So I knew what I didn’t want, I just hadn’t figured out what I did.

fresh peas in pods

Not for the first time, the inspiration came from a little French restaurant in our neighborhood, which along with the usual deliciousness — roasted chicken, steak frites, mussels, yes please — always tucks some sort of straight-from-the-market freshness on the specials. It said “Five Bean Salad” but what arrived was a plate, no, platter of al dente shell peas and snow peas and skinny green beans and fat yellow beans and sugar snaps and cranberry beans and favas, tossed in a roasted red pepper sauce with little bits of chevre tucked within. It was like a plate of summer, and even though I am so not the finish-your-plate-even-if-you’re-full-type the thought of letting even one fresh pea go to waste felt even more wrong and so I ate the whole thing and look at that folks! I guess preggo finally has her appetite back. Or was emphatically craving green vegetables.

snow peas

Continued after the jump »

Friday, June 5, 2009

pickled sugar snap peas

sugar snap peas, pickling

After a winter in which I was so sick of heavy winter vegetables, I went on strike against them (and pretty much everything that wasn’t peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or Raisin Bran, if we’re being honest here), I have been having so much fun the last couple weeks hitting the markets, especially now that they’re hitting their stride. In our new neighborhood, we’re not only so much closer to the Union Square Greenmarket, but have the added bonus of a couple mini-markets that conveniently run on Union Square’s off days, and I have to confess: the tinier ones are my favorite, due to my aversion to being elbowed when I’m sifting through my produce. Call me crazy.

First, there were radishes.

trimmed and scrubbed radishes

Then ramps. (I made this risotto and highly, highly recommend it, with ramps or any other sharp spring onion.)

ramps

Then teeny, tiny strawberries, so cute I wanted to pinch all of their little cheeks. I could not bring myself to do anything but eat them just like this.

tiny strawberries

Continued after the jump »

Monday, July 21, 2008

sauteed radishes and sugar snaps with dill

I realized something frightening over the weekend: I am so far behind on posting recipes we’ve auditioned over the last couple months, I could pretty much post every day for the next week and only just then begin to be almost caught up.

So, I decided that I would. I am going to post every single day for the next week. And look, I know you’re thinking: that it’s unseemly hot out and you’re in all likelihood either on a vacation or counting down to one and you honestly couldn’t care less about turning on a stove right now–and well, sadly, me too.

sugar snaps and orange juice

But that’s where these recipes will come in. They’re sides and light mains and good pot-luck fare and some relatively simple desserts and you know, the kind of stuff that you might get you rethinking your No Cooking Until September stance. I promise not to saddle you with any roasts or stocks or Things With Fourteen Ingredients. The last week of July is no time for noise like that.

shallotsradishes

Continued after the jump »