Tuesday, July 17, 2012
In Praise of Peas
When I was a kid, peas were grayish-green, rather mushy, and tasted like the metal can they were packed in. At some point, we began to get frozen peas: better color, better texture, but pretty starchy and bland. Fresh peas, when I finally had them as an adult, were a revelation.
And here's a revelatory way to prepare them. This comes from Pierre Franey's More 60-Minute Gourmet, a delightful book.
For every 1-1/2 to 2 cups of fresh peas (the fresher, the better), melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a saute pan. When the foam subsides, add a couple of tablespoons of finely chopped fresh mint and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. Add the peas, then salt and pepper to taste. Give the whole thing a stir or two, then cover the pan. Cook just until the peas are done--I cooked mine for two minutes. If the peas are super-fresh (in other words, you have just picked them from your own garden), it can take as little as a minute.
The peas in the photo above came from a wonderful organic farm here on Mount Desert Island called Beech Hill Farm. It's run by the College of the Atlantic, a rather free-thinking and free-spirited place.
You won't believe how good peas prepared this way can taste. The dish will completely supplant all childhood memories of mushy, metallic legumes.
Posted by David Schildkret at 1:33 PM