Peas, Glorious Peas — Two Delicious Ways to Use Spring’s Funnest Vegetable

Little in life makes me smile more than the arrival of peas at the Farmers Market. It means that spring has started giving way to summer and the earth will really be producing a full array of food soon. Also, I’ve tried in vain repeatedly to grow enough peas in my various gardens to even make one meal’s worth, so I’m happy to rely on our talented farmers to provide me with large quantities of my favorite spring vegetable.

There are SO ways you can do with peas: In cold or hot pea soups or added to other soups,  stews, salads, pasta and rice dishes, stir-fries and casseroles, mashed on crostini with a soft cheese and mint or basil, or as a stuffing for ravioli. It’s always worth the effort to shell peas…

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Here are two ways you can use peas as an appetizer and in a main dish:

Peas and Garlic Scapes with Goat Cheese and Basil Oil

A delicious spread for crostini, crackers or raw zucchini rounds. Garlic scapes, the long necks or flower stalks of the garlic plant, are also in season, so they add a nice mild garlic kick to the sweetness of the peas.

scapes

Ingredients
1/2 cup shelled peas
3 garlic scapes, chopped
2-3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Sea salt, to taste
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
4 ounces of fresh goat cheese or sheep’s milk ricotta

Instructions
1. Bring small pot of salted water to boil. Blanche peas and garlic scapes for 1 minute. Drain and cool.
2. Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes or so.
3. Mix peas and garlic scapes with the goat cheese and shape into a round ball.
4. Drizzle basil oil around goat cheese ball and a little on top. Garnish with basil leaf.

Garlic scapes

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Spanish-style Tortilla Made with Spring Peas, Mint and Sheep’s Yogurt

When it’s hot out, it’s nice to be able to eat cold and room temperature dishes that still taste and feel like a satisfying meal. Little fits that bill more than a Spanish-style tortilla, made with eggs, potato and spring vegetables like peas and fresh mint.

Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 large white or red potato, diced
1 shallot, chopped
1/2 cup peas
8 large eggs
1 cup sheep’s milk yogurt
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup grated pecorino or manchego cheese

Instructions
1. Preheat broiler. In a large oven-proof skillet, heat olive oil/melt butter over medium high heat.
2. Add potatoes and shallots and cook until almost soft, about 5-7 minutes.
3. Add peas, cook until al dente, about 3 minutes.
4. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, 1/2 cup of the yogurt, the mint, thyme, salt and pepper until well-combined and smooth.
5. Pour egg mixture over vegetables and cook about 3 minutes until set on the bottom and at edges.
6. Sprinkle top with cheese and place under broiler until completely set and cheese is browned, about 3 minutes.
7. Let sit about a minutes and then slide onto a plate.
8. Serve warm or cool to room temperature. Cut into wedges and top wedges with a dollop of yogurt and a mint leaf.

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