Bliss by the pod: Spring peas are a sweet deal
It’s hard to find fresh peas at farmers’ markets. I’ve straggled in too late every year, only to find that the early risers had cleared out the few precious pints available.
So this year we decided to grow our own. Earlier this spring, we bought two packets of seeds and planted them. We’re doing square-foot gardening in four-by-four raised beds, and we jammed 12 pea seeds into a square. Most of them sprouted and turned into big, flowering vines, despite the cramped quarters.
We harvested several pounds of pea pods earlier this week, which worked out to about 3 cups of peas. Last night we gathered a few more. My children keep wandering over to the garden, breaking over a pod and marveling at the sweetness of the peas.
Like homegrown tomatoes, peas are best from the backyard. They start turning starchy as soon as they’re picked, meaning if you don’t cook and eat them right away, they’ll taste much like what you buy in the store.
We’re harvesting and cooking within the hour, and using a simple recipe that lets the peas’ freshness and sweetness shine through.
Simple English Peas
Hands-on time: 5 minutes
Total time: 10 minutes
½ teaspoon salt
3 cups fresh English peas
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Fill a medium saucepan with about 2 quarts of water. Add the salt. Bring to a boil. Add peas and cook for one minute. Immediately drain peas in a colander and cool with running water. Set aside until just before serving.
In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add butter. When butter has melted and is foaming, add the peas. Saute for about a minute, just long enough to warm peas, shaking pan to make sure the peas are coated with butter. Serve immediately.