Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Beautiful Buttered Peas with Mint

I am a city girl now living in what I used to consider the "sticks". It was a huge adjustment to go from my urban life to a much slower and quieter lifestyle in the mountains & valleys of the Northeast. But, there are some pretty big perks. One of which is the access to beautiful farm-fresh fruits and vegetables. I can now go straight to the source for most of my produce needs. I traded in my reusable grocery bags for a farm share box!

However, the pickings are only good in the warmer seasons. Now that we are in the middle of winter, fresh produce becomes hit or miss in quality and taste. This is where frozen foods aisles can really shine. I think some frozen fruits and vegetables often get a bad rap. The thing is, some frozen produce can be just as good as the fresh stuff in season due to modern flash freezing techniques. The frozen peas I pulled from the basement deep freezer taste as good as the spring peas that I love to buy at the farmer's market.

This recipe for Buttered Peas with Mint is a perfect example of frozen foods coming to the rescue of our dinner during the winter months. Sweet peas are tossed in a mix of butter, mint, and sugar to create a lovely light, and dare I say "spring-y" dish, to remind us that the warmer seasons will be here soon. These peas make an excellent side dish to roasted chicken or salmon and couldn't be easier to prepare. In less then 20 minutes, you have a vibrant dish ready to serve!

Buttered Peas with Mint
recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking
by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, and Simone Beck
makes 6 servings

2 pounds shelled peas (I used frozen)
6 tablespoons softened butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
fresh pepper
2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, cut finely

Add 1 cup of water to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add a pinch of salt. Pour in your frozen peas and cook for 5-7 minutes. Drain.

 While the peas boil, wash and dry the mint leaves. Cut finely.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once heated, place the peas in the skillet and stir often, until the excess moisture on the peas has evaporated. Only 2 minutes.

Add the sugar, salt, pepper, and mint. Stir until well coated. Add the softened butter and stir gently until the butter has melted and the peas are coated. Reduce the heat to low and cover, cooking for 8-10 minutes.

 Serve immediately in an oven warmed serving dish.

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