Cooking with Peas: more recipes

By Nathan Fong

Photo by Tracey Kusiewicz

 

Fresh Green Pea Soup with Mint

From John Bishop’s Cooking at my House (Douglas & McIntyre, 1999).
This is one of John’s favourite soups. It is the essence of green peas and so easy to prepare. It can also be served as an elegant and colourful sauce to accompany such things as poached salmon, halibut or scallops. The secret to keeping the colour so intense is to prepare it just before serving, and not overcook it. Serves 4.

 

4 1/2 cups peas, fresh or frozen

6 fresh mint leaves

3/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. sugar

4 cups cold water

4 oz. goat cheese (optional)

 

Place peas, mint, salt and sugar in a soup pot. Cover with cold water. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat. Simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, until the peas are cooked. Remove from the burner and blend, either in a food mill or electric blender, until completely smooth. Pour soup back into pot and reheat before serving.

To serve, pour hot soup into warm soup bowls. The soup can be served plain like this or with chunks of goat cheese dotted around for extra flavour.

 

Polenta with Gorgonzola and Peas

From Rozanne Gold’s Healthy 1-2-3 (Stewart, Tabori & Chang 2001).
Award-winning cookbook author and chef Rozanne Gold has created a superb recipe using sublime cornmeal or polenta. The gorgonzola adds protein and, above all, incomparable flavour. It’s a simple low-fat recipe using only three ingredients.

 

1/2 cup small fresh or frozen peas

1 cup yellow stone-ground cornmeal

2 oz. gorgonzola cheese

 

Cook fresh peas in a small amount of salted water until just tender, about 15 minutes. If using frozen, cook for 2 minutes. Drain under cold running water. Pat dry.

In a four-quart saucepan, bring 3 cups water and 1/2 tsp. kosher salt to a boil. Gradually add cornmeal, whisking constantly. Lower heat and cook for 2 minutes, until polenta thickens. Add cheese and continue to cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add freshly ground pepper and peas. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.

Serve immediately; alternatively, spoon polenta into 4 custard cups or timbales that have been sprayed with nonstick vegetable spray or one 4- or 5-cup soufflé dish. Set aside until ready to serve. Cover with foil and heat in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes. Place briefly under broiler until golden. Serve hot.

 

Spicy Italian Sausage Pasta with Feta Cheese and Spring Peas

Serves 4 to 6.

 

4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

3 to 4 fresh Italian sausages

1 pound packaged pasta (rigatoni, rotini)

3 cloves garlic, finely minced

1/2 small red onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 small red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice

1/2 small yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 small basket cherry tomatoes, rinsed and cut in half

1/2 cup chicken stock

1 cup fresh or frozen baby spring peas

1/2 cup coarsely chopped Italian parsley

1/2 cup coarsely chopped basil leaves

3/4 cup crumbled mild feta

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

 

In a non-stick frying pan, add 1 Tbsp of the olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add sausages and fry, turning over occasionally until cooked. Cut into half-inch slices and set aside keeping warm.

Cook pasta according to manufacturer’s instructions.

In a large saucepan, heat remaining olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onions and sauté for 1 minute. Add bell peppers and cherry tomatoes and sauté until tomatoes start to soften.

Add chicken stock and peas and bring to a simmer. Add drained hot pasta to sauce and toss well, adding chopped parsley, herbs and feta cheese.

Season to taste. Serve immediately.

 

Sweet Pea Ice Cream

This interesting (and tasty) ice cream recipe is from my friend Barbara Kafka’s award-winning cookbook Vegetable Love (Artisan, 2005). Makes 3 1/2 cups.

 

3 lbs peas in the pod, shelled about 3 cups

1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup heavy cream

 

Combine the peas, milk and sugar in a 2-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and reduce to simmer. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour, or until the peas are very tender. The liquid will be mostly absorbed.

Put the peas and heavy cream in a blender and puree until very smooth. Transfer mixture to a metal bowl and chill, covered, or until cold.

Freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions, about 25 minutes. Transfer to air-tight container and store in freezer.

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