A Plethora Of Peas

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A Summer Shower Of Snow Peas And Sugar Snaps

When the first local peas appear (on my deck or at the Farmers’ Market), I prefer them raw. Sweet and crisp, their slight earthiness keeps them from tasting like candy. Extreme youth demands very simple treatments so the delicate pea flavor can shine through. As they get a little older, brief cooking enhances both flavor and texture, and it’s fun to embroider a bit. Right now I’ve got a boatload of peas, so here’s what I’ve been up:

Peas & Cherries, Please

This crisp, crunchy salad needs a little time to meld, so let it stand 20-30 minutes while you fix the rest of your meal. The sweet-tart cherries lift this combo past pleasant to hover near perfect. We enjoyed this salad today with whole grain sourdough toast and slices of young goat cheese made by a neighbor with a small herd of gentle critters. Stephen ages his cheeses about a month, when they are firm yet creamy in texture and mild in flavor. He coats them with red wax, which he saves for the fireplace kindling box as cheese get peeled and eaten. (I love that touch!)

Fresh Pea & Cherry Salad

16 snap peas in the pod, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1/2 cup chopped pitted Rainier or any cherries
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced on the diagonal
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon avocado oil or olive oil
1 tablespoon minced mint
1 organic lemon, juiced, rind grated

Combine peas, cherries, celery, green onions, 1/4 teaspoon salt, the mint and oil with 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Let stand 10 minutes then adjust salt and lemon juice to taste. Let stand another 15-20 minutes and serve. Serves 2-3.

Make It Snappy

Ginger brings out the sweetness in young peas, as Indian cooks are well aware. This lovely salad leans more to the French, especially if you use long, elegantly tapered French Breakfast radishes instead of the handsome Watermelon type.

Snappy Pea Salad With Ginger Dressing

1 cup chopped snap peas in the pod
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped WallaWalla sweet onion
4 Watermelon radishes (or any), very thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley (include some stems)
2 tablespoons minced basil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Ginger Dressing (see below)
1/2 cup pea tendrils

Combine first 7 ingredients with 2-3 tablespoons Ginger Dressing and let stand 10 minutes. Adjust dressing to taste and serve, garnished with pea tendrils. Serves 2-3.

Ginger Dressing

1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger root
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 organic lemon, juiced, rind grated
1/4 cup avocado oil or fruity olive oil
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

In a food processor, combine vinegar, ginger and garlic and 1 teaspoon lemon zest and grind to a fine paste. Add oil slowly, then season to taste with lemon juice (start with 2 teaspoons), maple syrup, and salt. Makes about 1/3 cup.

Rice & Peas Makes Complete Vegan Protein

As South American meals often include rice and beans, Indian cooks combine rice with peas in all sorts of ways, including refreshing warm salads. This is a delightful way to use up leftover rice; aged Indian-grown basmati tastes best, but short grain brown rice is also pleasing here. Serve this hearty salad at room temperature, so the flavors can build even as you’re eating.

Curried Pea Salad With Basmati Rice

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon coriander seed, lightly crushed
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups shelled peas
1 cup cooked basmati rice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (stems included)
1 lime, quartered

In a wide, shallow pan, melt oil with coriander and garam masala over medium heat until fragrance blooms (about 1 minute). Add garlic, onion, and salt and cook until barely soft (3-5 minutes). Add peas, cover pan and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in rice to coat well, cover pan and heat through. Stir in cilantro and serve with a lime wedge. Serves four.

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2 Responses to A Plethora Of Peas

  1. Emily says:

    More yummy-looking recipes–I think I’ll try the rice and pea salad!

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