I’ve got creative recipes for cooking with spring peas:
1. Spring Pea & Herb Salad
Each year I look forward to cooking this Spring Pea & Herb Salad, excitedly pulling the card from my trusty recipe box. It’s the whole package: vibrant color, fresh flavor, and interesting texture. Peas, edamame, watercress, sorrel, and spring onions are tossed in the best extra-virgin olive oil and a couple pinches of flakey Maldon sea salt, then garnished with fresh mint and edible flowers. The flavors are more pronounced at room temperature, and so this salad is well-suited to carrying along on a spring picnic. It’s also great packed for a cheerful, healthy lunch.
2. Smashed Peas on Crostini
I was smitten with Jamie Oliver’s recipe for Incredible Smashed Peas and Fava Beans on Toast the moment I saw him preparing it in his garden on the show, Jamie at Home. Peas, fava beans, mint, pecorino cheese, and olive oil are pounded into a purée with a mortar and pestle, then spread over grilled bread. Fresh mozzarella and pea shoots finish off the dish. It’s a beautiful celebration of the sweet, succulent pea in all its glory.
3. Pea Soup
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall shares a recipe for his “all-time favorite” Pea, Lettuce, and Lovage Soup in the River Cottage Cookbook, where he writes that it’s delicious hot or served chilled to start off an al fresco dinner. Fresh peas are sautéed in butter or olive oil with onions and lettuce, then simmered in stock. The leafy herb lovage is tossed in once the pot has been removed from the heat, infusing it with a savory, curry flavor. Then the ingredients are puréed into a thick, velvety soup. With such a vibrant green color and fresh flavor, Pea, Lettuce, and Lovage Soup is spring in a bowl.
4. Peas in a Leafy Salad with Bacon
I came across this gem while reading Nigel Slater’s vegetable book, Tender. The recipe for A Salad of Hot Bacon, Lettuce, and Peas would be a lovely supper after a day spent outside, savoring the warmth and joy of spring until the last rays of daylight disappear. When your famished and it’s nine o’clock, this will surely hit the spot. Begin by cutting bacon into bite-sized pieces, then frying it in a pan till crisp. Remove the bacon and toss in torn up pieces of white bread, cooking until golden brown. Toss the bacon and bread with fresh-from-the-garden lettuce, peas, and fennel. Dress the salad in a mustard vinaigrette, pour yourself a beer, and put your feet up. Perfection.
5. A Side of Sautéed Peas & Radishes
With their brilliant red color and spicy kick of flavor, radishes are a good companion to sweet peas. I like to serve Sautéed Peas & Radishes alongside roast chicken during springtime. Heat a pat of butter in a skillet, then sweat a finely diced shallot and toss in freshly shelled peas and wedges of radish. After a couple of minutes, the veg should be crisp tender and ready to serve. Garnish with fresh tarragon and flaky sea salt.
6. Pea, Spring Onion, and Chive Frittata with Goat Cheese
I mentioned a Pea, Spring Onion, and Chive Frittata with Goat Cheese a couple of weeks ago, a recipe that I make again and again to try and hold on to spring as long as I can, before the oppressive heat of summer sets in and I must admit that it’s over. Fresh eggs from the farmer’s market (or your own hens) will make this dish a luxury. It begins with sautéing the filling of fresh (or frozen) peas and sliced spring onions. Pour over whisked eggs and milk, then cook until almost set. Sprinkle with pieces of soft goat cheese then finish the frittata in the hot oven until puffed and golden. Look for the recipe this week at la Domestique.
7. Lemony Green Peas in a Pod
I think this recipe for Lemony Green Peas in a Pod from Martha Stewart is a genius appetizer. Whole pea pods are simmered in a pot of water and lemon juice until bright green, about a minute. The liquid cooked down until concentrated with lemon flavor. Olive oil and minced garlic are stirred into the reduced liquid, and the peas are served on a platter, warm, with a generous sprinkling of mint. Guests can peel and pop the lemony peas while enjoying a glass of bubbly on the porch.
8. Risi e Bisi
Risi e Bisi is a traditional Venetian risotto of “rice and peas.” Freshly shelled English peas are the star of this creamy rice dish. Mario Batali’s recipe for Risi e Bisi begins by cooking finely chopped shallots, celery, and prosciutto in olive oil, then stirring in the arborio rice and ladling in chicken stock a spoonful at a time, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente. Freshly shelled English peas are tossed in for the last few minutes are cooking. Just before serving, butter and Parmesan are stirred in for a rich but still fresh tasting risotto that’s creamy and delicious.
9. Ragout of Peas and Morels
This recipe for Ragout of Peas and Morels from Saveur is a rich and savory pairing of earthy mushrooms, sweet carrots, and succulent peas. Simmering the dried morels in water serves two purposes: first to reconstitute the mushrooms and second to provide a deeply flavored broth for the vegetables. Saveur describes it as an “elegant side dish,” but it almost seems more like the beginning of a luscious beef or lamb stew.
10. Peas on Your Pizza
Sautéed peas and onions form the flavor base of a pizza topped with pieces of prosciutto and Gruyère cheese in this pizza recipe from Bon Appétit. The Gruyère melts and bubbles, turning golden brown as the pizza crisps in the oven. Peas on a pizza may sound like a bad idea, but the melted cheese holds the tiny peas in place. Just before serving, fresh pea sprouts are sprinkled over for a garnish.