Vegetable of the Moment: Peas

Depending on where you live, peas might just be popping up or it might be the tail end of the season, as they fade into tomatoes and peppers and eggplants. It's been cold in the Northeast and the peas around here are just hitting their peak. Snap peas, fava beans, and English peas are all taking over our garden and the farmer's markets. 

When peas are in season, they're tender and sweet and not very starchy - you can eat them raw (like in smashed pea toast, below), lightly blanched or sautéed, or blended into a bright green soup. When I was making this soup, I was just popping them into my mouth cause they've got that sweet, green earthiness that embodies Spring and all things new and lovely. 

It might seem a little annoying to shuck them, but it's worth it. Just peel open the pods and pop out the peas. You can make a light pea-flavored broth by covering the pods in water and bringing it to a boil. Don't forget you can ALSO eat the pea leaves / tendrils and their white or purple flowers - the flowers are great raw in a salad and the leaves can be lightly sautéed or poached in broth. Whole vegetable cooking, ya'll. 

Here's three super simple ways we used English peas this week. 

Pro-tip: if you're overwhelmed with peas, lightly blanch them in water, and freeze for later. The soup can be made with frozen peas. 

Smashed Pea Toast  

Pulse a cup of blanched peas in a food processor with grated parmesan, two grated garlic cloves, a small handful of mint, the zest of one lemon, and the juice of half of a lemon. Pulse until mashed but still chunky. Drizzle in a tablespoon of olive oil. Shmear on top of crunchy toast and top with mint, more parmesan, salt and pepper.

smashed pea toast

Pea Soup

Sauté one roughly chopped small onion (spring onion is best, including the green tops!) and 2 cloves garlic in butter or olive oil, slowly, until very soft. Add 2 cups shucked peas and cover with water. Cook until peas are tender, but still bright green. Transfer to a blender & blend on high with 3-4 mint leaves, until very smooth. Add sea salt & lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to taste. Garnish with more mint & olive oil. 

pea soup

Pea Pesto

Combine a handful of blanched peas, two pieces of kale, and a small handful of basil with about two tablespoons of pumpkin seeds, a grated garlic clove, several generous grates of parmesan, a spoonful of charred lemon sauce or lemon zest in a food processor. Pulse to combine, then drizzle in olive oil until it has reached your desired consistency. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

pea pesto basil kale