At the end of February, I wrote a post about last year’s abysmal failure growing peas. But I said that, despite all the non-germinating seeds and withered seedlings of last year, I was giving it another go, planting several feet each of Amish Snap, Mammoth Melting Sugar, and Burpeeana Early. And, my dear readers, you responded with great encouragement. You gave me all sorts of tips (most of which I’m sorry I couldn’t use, because the peas were already in the ground…), and you said this would surely be my year for a good pea harvest.
Well, you were absolutely right! After eating a few precocious pods on our salade “niçoise” earlier this week, we brought in the first substantial harvest last night: almost half a pound of Amish Snaps! And oh, my goodness, were they delicious. They were off the vine for less than half an hour before we cooked them, briefly and delicately, according to a recipe recommended by Kristin Kimball in her delightful book The Dirty Life. I’ve thought that peas were good before, but these peas…these were like candy.
To prepare a 1/2 pound of snap peas (or 1 cup of shelled peas, if that’s what you’re working with), heat 1 cup of milk and 1 T. butter over medium heat until hot but not yet boiling. Add the peas and gently simmer just until they turn a brighter green. You want them to soften a little but not go limp. Remove them from the heat, and top with a few finely chopped mint leaves and salt and pepper.
The smell of the mint in the peas originally surprised me, as it isn’t a pairing I’m used to. But the flavor was very subtle, and I quickly started getting flashbacks to a trip to Morocco. Mint tea is everywhere there, to the point that its odor floats constantly on the breeze. Eating these peas was like being back in Marrakesh…