Can anything actually taste green? Spring peas do. And while they may only be available fresh-picked in the spring, lucky for us, they’re one of the few vegetables that retain much of their flavor when frozen. We prepare the tasty crop four easy ways.

1. Fresh Pea Soup with Mint

A classic flavor combo

Cook 1 chopped onion and 2 chopped leeks in 2 Tbsp. butter until they are soft. Add 4 cups of chicken or vegetable stock and 5 cups of peas. Cook until peas are tender, then stir in about 1/2 cup of chopped fresh mint leaves, 2 tsp. of salt and 1 tsp. of white pepper. Puree in a blender, one cup at a time. Serve warm or cold. Top with a dollop of crème fraiche.

2. Three-way Peas

A festival of pea-ness

Saute 4 minced garlic cloves and 1/2 tsp. grated ginger in 1 Tbsp. of olive oil. Stir in 3 cups snow peas and 3 cups of sugar snap peas and saute until barely tender. Stir in 4 cups of pea shoots, cook for just 2-3 minutes, then serve. 

3. Mushy Peas

A British favorite with fish and chips

Bring a shallow pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add frozen peas, and cook for 3 minutes, or until tender. Drain peas and transfer to a food processor. Add a few Tbsp. of butter, salt and pepper to taste, and process until still thick but with small pieces of peas. If it seems too thick, mix in a Tbsp. of heavy cream. Stir in 2 tsp. of lemon juice. It’s a great side dish for ham.

4.  Risi e Bisi

A variation of a Venetian favorite

Cook a minced clove of garlic in 2 Tbsp. olive oil, then stir in a heaping cup of Arborio rice and saute a minute. Add a quart of warmed stock or water, a ladleful at a time, cooking until absorbed after each ladleful. Stir in a cup of peas, 1/4 cup diced, frizzled pancetta and 1/2 cup corn. Finish with 1/4 cup or so of grated Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese.

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written by: Mary Brown Malouf

photographs by: Adam Finkle

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