I know it may be a pain to some, but to me, there's something so relaxing about shelling peas-- just sitting there in front of my laptop , watching useless youtube videos and mindlessly popping peas from their pods while the sun slowly sets behind me. No, I wasn't putting off schoolwork, I just had to shell them then. Priorities. With fresh peas, you have to use them up as soon as possible, because their flavour deteriorates so quickly (so if you can't get them REALLY fresh i.e. direct from the farmers or better still, from your garden, then go for those that are frozen straight).
As usual, I got a whole load of spring vegetables at the farmers' market. And because my fridge was running out of space, I decided to use up three of these in one dish for dinner right away, in my take on the French classic braised peas. Braising is a really popular technique in Chinese cooking too, but usually with meat, so I was curious to see how it'd work out for vegetables.
Braised Peas with Lettuce and Fresh Onions
Ingredients (serves 2-3 as a side)
about 1 cup of shelled peas (about a brown bag worth of peas in pod)
handful of roughly shredded lollo rosso lettuce leaves (it's usually romaine or little gem lettuce but that was what I got that day. anyway I like the deep purple colour for some contrast)
1 onion (I decided to give fresh onions a try. Sliced it all up, green stalks too)
generous knob of butter (Peas love butter! So do I.) + 1 tsp evoo
about 1/4 cup of homemade chicken stock
sea salt, white pepper
juice of half lemon
a bit of dill (mint is a classic combination, but I had dill at hand and thought the freshness of the dill would work well too)
1. Melt butter with evoo over medium heat in a pan.
2. Add the sliced onions (white part) and cook till soft and translucent, before adding the peas, stir to combine, about 1-2 min.
3. Add the lettuce and sliced onions (green part), stir to combine.
4. Then in with the stock and seasoning, bring to a simmer and then cover and cook for 2-3 min.
5. Uncover, let simmer to reduce for just a while, before removing from the heat and adding the fresh dill and lemon juice.
The peas were just bursting with natural sweetness, really quite different from their frozen brothers and sisters! Oh and the fresh onions I was so intrigued with were great-- really powerful sweetness but with less of a bite (think the best of both regular onions and spring onions). As much as I love peas simply cooked in butter, braising them with onions and lettuce will now be a new favourite (: