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Ann Hodgman

Peas: The Best Frozen Vegetable

Peas with MintTiny green peas. Approximately one million percent of the time, frozen green peas are better than fresh. You miss the fun of shelling fresh-from-the-garden peas (they look so darling packed into those pods!), but gain a vegetable that’s almost always perfect—sweet, fresh-tasting, and unstarchy.

 

And pretty! I think of tiny frozen peas as the “point” in an exclamation point. In color and shape alone, they add so much to so many dishes. You should keep a big bag of tiny peas in your freezer approximately two million percent of the time. Regular-size green peas are fine, but tiny are perfect. And you never need to cook them before using; just let ‘em defrost, and you’re good to go.

 

Of course there’s the problem that many children consider green peas to be small dots of poison. If you’re still fighting in that trench, a good way to disguise peas is to make guacamole with them. For some reason, kids who hate vegetables will often scarf them down if they’re mashed and presented as a dip.

 

Green Pea Guacamole

Just throw the following things into your food processor:

1 ten-ounce package tiny frozen peas, defrosted

1 small red onion, chopped (or as much as your children will bear)

2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil

2 tablespoons sour cream

2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 plum tomato, chopped

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or, again, the amount the kids can tolerate)

Salt to taste

 

Whirl them all up until they’re the consistency you like, and bring out the tortilla chips—or carrot sticks, if you’re serving this as a vegetable at a family dinner. And why shouldn’t you? No one’s watching.

 

…But let’s say your kids can tolerate peas in their natural form. In that case, this strange-sounding-but-great pea salad has enough protein to count as a main course on a hot night. (I don’t know where you live, but around here it’s like summer already.)

 

Pea Salad

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 teaspoons vinegar (I use balsamic)

1 teaspoon sugar

Pepper to taste

1 ten-ounce package tiny frozen peas, defrosted and drained

1 cup salted peanuts

6 bacon strips, cooked crisp and crumbled

1 small red onion, minced (optional depending on children’s preferences)

In a medium bowl, whisk together everything except the peas, peanuts, bacon, and onions. Then gently stir in those same four ingredients. Chill for at least one hour before serving to four people.

 

 

Now, what if you feel like being a grownup for once? A grownup who loves the spring? Then I recommend this delicious cold pea soup. You have to make it yesterday to enjoy it today,  but there’s nothing more refreshing and seasonal.

 

 

Chilled Pea Soup

1 small yellow onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil

1 ten-ounce box frozen tiny peas, defrosted

2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

2 tablespoons lemon juice, or to taste

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

Sprigs of mint (optional)

 

In a small skillet, heat the oil.  Saute the onion and garlic until translucent.  Remove from the heat.

 

In a medium bowl, combine the peas, broth, lemon juice, and seasonings. Stir in the onion and garlic. Last of all, add the yogurt.

 

Puree the mixture (in batches, if necessary); then chill the soup overnight. Check the seasoning. If you want, garnish with fresh mint before serving.

 

Serves 4, unless you want to be trendy and put it into shot glasses for a party. In that case, it will fill 12 to 16 shot glasses.

 

Peas, please… You’ll love the little green veg in these recipes:

 

Green Salad with Asparagus and Peas

Turkey Cutlets with Peas and Spring Onions

Ham-and-Peas Macaroni ‘n’ Cheese

 

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