These green springtime beauties are perfect partners on the plate.
Posted in , Apr 20, 2018
Our eyes seek out green in the springtime. How happy when those eyes can rest on a freshly plucked bowl of spring peas. One of the first harvests of the spring farm or garden, peas are tiny globes of flavor, nutrition and freshness.
Here’s some good news—you can experience all the vibrant pop of spring peas even if you don’t have a garden or farm stand nearby. Frozen peas are hailed by both home cooks and professional chefs as that rare vegetable that’s perfectly acceptable to work with from its frozen state.
Pairing peas with mint not only doubles down on all that gorgeous green, but it elevates the freshness of the peas into bracing, utterly spring-y herbal territory. Try these three ways to marry these perfect partners this spring.
1) Pea and Mint Pesto
Boil peas for 2-3 minutes, or until they are tender but still vibrantly green. Rinse them under cold running water to lock in their color and stop their cooking. In a food processor, pulse the peas with a clove or two of garlic, a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon (about a half lemon’s worth), a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, a pinch of kosher salt, and a handful of fresh mint leaves that have been coarsely chopped. If you’re noticing the vagueness of this “recipe,” good! The idea is to combine these flavors in a way that works for your palette. Add more olive oil if the pesto is too thick, and enjoy it over pasta or spread onto grilled or toasted crusty bread.
2) Blanched Peas with Mint
It doesn’t get much easier than peas with mint for a spring side dish. Start with either fresh or frozen peas, and cook them briefly in boiling, salted water. Once they are bright green but still plump (2-3 minutes), strain the peas and place into a serving bowl. Add a hardy handful of chopped mint and gently stir the peas together with a couple of glugs of olive oil. Another sprinkle of kosher salt, and you’re table-ready!
3) Pea and Mint Soup
Let’s face it, spring evenings aren’t always as warm as we’d like. We don’t have to sacrifice the freshness of the season in order to warm our bodies, though—pea and mint soup is vital, fresh and cozy warm. If you’re having a heat wave, don’t hesitate to enjoy this soup cold! To make it, sauté an onion in some olive oil or butter in a soup pot. Add four cups of chicken or vegetable broth along with about 6 cups of fresh or thawed frozen peas, and simmer just until the peas are cooked, no more than 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and add a cup of fresh chopped mint, a pinch of salt, and a grind of pepper. Using a blender and working in batches, puree the soup. Return to the pot and keep warm until serving. Serve swirled with a dollop of sour cream, yogurt or crème fraîche.