Is there anyone who doesn't like peas? Okay, my five-year-old, and probably the kids who live in some of your houses. But these easy, sweet, delicious little round green beauties ... and their crunchy cousins...are in season right now.And if you have only had them canned, eating them fresh out of the garden is like eating an entirely new, and much more delicious, food.
Most of us are familiar with the English pea or garden pea, which are shelled before eating. The problem with these is that they turn from sweet and plumply delicious to starchy and a little dry very soon after being picked. If you can't taste them or unless you know exactly when they were picked, pass them up; frozen is actually better than fresh in this case.
Frozen peas are a staple in my house for adding veggies to fast meals. You can actually put frozen peas in the bottom of a colander before you drain pasta, and the heat from the pasta and the water will cook them. Another classic presentation is simply tossed with a little butter and chopped fresh mint.
Similar to garden peas but served in the shell, sugar snap peas are sweet, crunchy and addictive eaten raw. They look great in stir-fries and pasta, too. Look for glossy pods that feel plump and full, and take off the ends before eating if they are tough.
Snow peas are staples of Asian cuisine, and are amazing stir-fried as briefly as possible in a little bit of sesame oil. These go from crisp and sweet to limp and nasty in mere seconds, so keep a close eye. Personally, I love these raw and eat them like chips.
For all peas, it's important to cook them very briefly; these are delicate beauties!
How do you like to cook peas?