Ah, fresh English peas in the pod! The small box tucked in amongst all of the other vegetables at the Sunrise Organic Farms stand at the Sunday Larchmont Farmer’s Market almost missed my roving eye. I’m always on the lookout for something different and English peas in the pod, also known as shelling peas, are something different in SoCal. Needing specific weather conditions (50-70 degrees), the growing season is short, only a few weeks, so I am rushing to get this recipe to give you the opportunity to have these sweet delicate orbs, fresh, not frozen.
Now, if you haven’t shelled peas before, please note that this is the most time consuming part of the recipe. Rinse the pods in a colander and let them dry and then sit yourself down with a large measuring cup and start shelling. If you’re lucky, like I was, a family member (my husband) will join in as your sous chef and assist you in separating the peas from their cocoon. It turned out to be a fun time, as some peas went flying across the room and much laughter was had. After a few pods, you’ll get the hang of it. The toughest part is not eating the majority while you’re shelling.
I had purchased just under 2 pounds of pods that yielded 2 ¼ cups of shelled peas. The rule of thumb is 1 cup per pound. I think that that depends on how large the peas are. You won’t know until you unzip the shell.
I kept the recipe simple to let the peas be the star. Most fresh herbs will work in this recipe so select those that you love. Lots of fresh lemon zest truly brings the dish together.
Of note, I did see a berry vendor with already shelled peas. There’s that option, as well, if you don’t want to take the time to shell them. Those should be eaten right away. Peas in the pod will keep a few days in the fridge.
English Peas with Butter, Lemon and Herbs
2 ¼ cups shelled English peas
1 ½ T salted vegan butter (or to taste)
1 T chopped fresh mint
1 T chopped fresh chives
1 T chopped fresh Italian (flat leaf) parsley
Kosher or fine sea salt to taste
Zest of a large lemon
Gently boil the peas in a medium saucepan of salted water for 6-8 minutes. Strain into a colander, but don’t rinse. In the same saucepan, melt the vegan butter until foamy and then add the herbs. Gently sauté for about 20-30 seconds. Add the peas back to the pot, stirring up to coat and heat through. Salt to taste with preferred salt. Turn off the heat and add the lemon zest stirring up gently. Immediately plate and serve, topping with more zest and herbs for presentation, if desired.
About Deborah Brooks
Deborah is currently a documentary film producer. She is also a former certified personal trainer and fitness nutrition coach. The shutdown of business due to Covid-19 and the implication of an animal wet market connection caused her to rethink her high animal protein food lifestyle. She has spent the last year exploring the world of plant based eating for her own health as well as the health of the planet and all of its sentient beings. Her recipes can be found on Instagram. She would love you to follow along on her journey.
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