Have you had fresh green peas before? I didn’t. At least not until recently. I had canned, I had frozen, dried...but fresh. No, not fresh. And I had no idea why. I have seen their brightly colored coats at the farmers market every spring and I always been intrigued by them. But maybe because of lack of a habit (or maybe because of I had a habit of eating other spring veggies) I kept ignoring my natural curiosity towards these green beauties. And this spring I decided that I will no longer just admire them, I will get them and make something...even though I had no idea what. And to be honest, I had no idea how to eat them. I was even a bit scared of messing them up. I tend to feel really bad if I kill a beautiful, fresh produce by lack of knowledge. But as people say, there always a first time for everything, and my first time eating fresh green peas was kind of disaster. I decided to blanch them whole with the pod, and make a fresh cold pea soup. Not a very good idea. I will not go in full detail describing this strange experience but if you remember how you felt when you were a kid and had to eat an odd textured soup at the kindergarten and you really didn’t feel like eating it, but you had to...Yeah, that’s it.
Now you might be wondering why on earth I am about to share a fresh green peas recipe with you even though I just described my very first (not exactly successful) experience with them. It is because I don’t give up easily. Not without trying. I have always liked green peas, so I figured that it must be me and my method of preparing rather than the peas themselves. So I went back to the market, I got some more, I blanched them again, but this time I shelled them so the only thing left of them was their sweet little round hearts. I added some fresh asparagus form the farmers market too, some lemon juice, mint and soft goat cheese and...viola, a full of life and flavor fresh salad that I can eat over and over and over...and over again.
So grab your bags and go to the farmers market and get some fresh green peas. And if they are all gone, just grab something else that is fresh and grown with love and care and enjoy it to the fullest.
Fresh Peas Salad
Serves 4 (small size salads)
• 2 cups fresh peas
• 1 bunch fresh asparagus (about 16 asparagus), cut in half
• 2 lemons
• 2 garlic cloves, crushed
• 1 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
• 1/4 cup thyme flowers (optional)
• 4 oz. fresh goat cheese
• Salt and pepper
• Olive oil
Bring a medium pot of salted water to boil. Turn the heat off and add the fresh peas and asparagus. Blanch for 4 minutes.
Meanwhile, zest one of the lemons and juice both of them. Drain the peas and the asparagus and place them in ice bath to stop the cooking process and to retain their bright green color.
Drain the peas and asparagus really well and place them in a bowl with the lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic and the mint leaves. Add salt, pepper and olive oil to taste and toss to combine.
Divide the salad among 4 plates and top with chinks of goat cheese and sprinkle with thyme flowers (if using).