Wednesday, May 11, 2016

More Peas Please

Peas also known as garden peas, shelling peas, sugar snap peas, snow peas, Chinese peas, edible-podded peas, are one of spring's finest vegetables. Like sweet corn, peas are at their tastiest immediately after harvest. Whether you choose shell or edible-pod peas, they grow best during spring and early summer when temperatures are between 60 F to 75 F.

Pea shoots are the choice leaves and tendrils of pea plants. Shoots are typically harvested from snow pea vines, although they can be from any type of garden pea. Rinse pea shoots in cool water, drain and let dry. Remove any stems that look coarse.

In recipes fresh or frozen peas are interchangeable. And because peas deteriorate within hours rather than days of picking , peas picked at peak and quickly frozen can be considered fresh too. Check your local farmer's market the next few weeks for spring's bounty pea crop. 

Spring Pea Orzo
Cook's notes: Recipe adapted from Southern Living May 2016 
  • 2 large lemons
  • 8 oz. orzo pasta
  • 1/4 cup minced shallot or red onion, diced
  • 2 TB. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 TB. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 cup snow peas or sugar snap peas, blanched and chopped
  • 3/4 cup assorted fresh herbs (e.g. mint, chives, parsley)
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Grate zest from lemon to equal 2 tsp. set aside. Cut lemons in half , squeeze juice to equal 1/2 cup. 
  • Prepare orzo according to package directions, cook al dente. Whisk shallots, olive oil, mustard, salt and pepper and lemon juice in a large bowl. Toss with drained orzo.  
  • Cover with plastic wrap and chill 1-24 hours. 
  • Add peas, herbs, almonds and lemon zest with orzo mixture just before serving. Grate with Parmesan cheese.  
Pea Salad with Bacon, Onions and Almonds
Cook's notes: Spring pea salad with bacon and cheddar cheese! The key to pea irresistibility are the toppings: chopped roasted almonds for warmth and crunch, red onions for bite, and a bit of crispy bacon for smokiness. Recipe adapted from
Serves 2 but ingredients can easily be increased for more servings.

  • 4 strips bacon
  • 2 cups peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded or diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise or lite mayonnaise  
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon mint, chopped (optional)
  • salt, pepper and cayenne to taste
  • 1/2  cup toasted almonds

  • Cook the bacon, drain and crumble it.
  • Mix all ingredients and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Option: Replace the mayonnaise with sour cream, Greek yogurt, ranch dressing or a combination of them.
  • Option: Add in diced hard boiled eggs.
  • Tip: Make a day ahead of time and let it sit in the fridge overnight.

Bon Appetit

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