Fresh peas off the vine are a spring joy like no other. I particularly like juicy, sweet snap peas where you can feast on the whole pod. Shelling peas are a special treat as they make you work a little harder for the results. Fresh, sweet shelling peas cooked with a little butter and finished with sea salt need nothing else.
When those first pints of peas show up in the CSA or at the farmers’ market you may just eat the whole pint out of hand if you’re like me. But peas are prolific and they are so delicious stir fried and long simmered with other spring treats like green garlic, fava beans, artichokes and onions. Shelling peas make a divine puree and any kind of pea makes a light and delicious risotto finished with lemon and mint or parsley. Curried peas and potatoes is a classic Indian dish and Mexican rice is enlivened and beautified by fresh shelling peas.
Peas lose their sweetness and crisp texture with time so eat them as soon as you can. Early in the season they will certainly keep well for a five days or so but they won’t be as sweet.
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