Peas--a Few Words
October 4, 2015
We all know the summer/fall challenge of using up the mountains of produce that your too-large eyes trick you into buying at the market. In my case, last July it was peas. DinoVino WineScribe doesn't eat peas, the silly, but there are only so many meals in a day, so I should have known I couldn't eat two quarts of mange-tout peas all by myself.
The day after over-buying, I washed and halved the peas and put them in a saucepan with two chopped green onions and some of the tougher outer leaves of lettuce from the three heads I had foolishly bought and that, in hindsight, I knew we wouldn't be able to eat up before wilting began. I added water and salt and cooked this for about thirty minutes, then pureed it with the handheld blender, after which I ran it through the food mill (powered by elbow grease) because I wanted this soup to be really smooth.
I chilled the soup for that night's supper (DinoVino will eat anything in soup form, even peas).
Notes on the peas: because these were not the first peas of the season, they were a little less delicate and tender than they might have been. I felt it necessary to string them—both sides of the pod—and was gratified when every tug resulted in a substantial string that I would not have liked to have in my soup.
Now, during the rest of the year--those ten months when fresh peas are nowhere to be found--I make use of frozen peas. Braving the frown of the household's non-pea-eater, I'll throw a handful into any casserole or meat-pie-type dish. But mostly, I cook up a (large) batch just for me and eat them with butter. Sometimes I add a bit of chopped onion and/or a couple of leaves of lettuce to the pan, plus a tad of water, a knob of butter, and a pinch of salt (are those measurements exact enough for you?). These peas cook in less than ten minutes, at which point I dump them into a soup bowl, garnish them with another bit of butter, and gobble them up. If you like peas with mint, you could put a couple of mint leaves in the pan at the beginning.
Obviously I could use frozen peas for a year-round version of the pea soup I described at the beginning--a good idea if your goal is to push peas into your non-pea-eater. You don't have to over-buy at the market in order to enjoy a pea soup.