Peas are given greater respect as an icepack than a vegetable. The frozen ones present less of a thrill, but the fresh ones, the ones still nestled in their green cocoon and sold at farmers’ markets – these ones are sublime. They also taste nothing like their cryogenically preserved cousins, who will never have the same personality they once had when plump with life.
And if taste’s not reason enough, they’re also good for you – in 2/3 cup there are 5g of protein, they’re a great source of folic acid and 30% of your vitamin C needs will be met.
Fresh peas are best enjoyed with minimal prep (3 mins max in boiling water, then tossed with butter or olive oil, mint if you have it). But if you’re looking to doll them up further, here’s an excellent recipe which introduces another nutrition powerhouse- quinoa.
Peas and Quinoa Salad
1/2 cup fresh cooked peas
2 cups cooked quinoa (could also use barley or couscous)
1 tablespoon dried cranberries
1/4 purple onion
1 tablespoon slivered almonds (or walnuts or sunflower seeds)
1/4 cup cucumber cut into smallish cubes (if the cuke is very seedy&watery, cut out the seeds else the salad will be too watery)
1/4 cup feta cheese (crumbled)
Salt & pepper (don’t skimp on either of these!)
Lemon juice or rice wine vinegar
(Make the dressing 1:3 parts lemon/vinegar to oil. Add about a teaspoon of mustard, a squirt of honey (or agave) and s&p. Don’t make it too sweet, just a hint of sweet.
Boil the peas for 3 minutes max (5 if steaming). Cook the quinoa and let cool. Slice the onion finely. Mix all ingredients plus dressing. It will taste even better an hour or two after you make it, so prepare it in advance (with the dressing). Makes enough for about 4.
Have your own favorite ways to enjoy fresh peas? Share them!
Photo: Three peas from the Union Sq Farmers Mkt, NYC. Copyright © Michelle Madden
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