Simple, Healthy, Delicious: English Peas
Eating raw English peas straight out of the pod is a real treat; they have a bright, sweet flavor that just pops in your mouth. Here are a few ideas for other ways to enjoy fresh English peas:
Fresh Saporito Fine Pasta with English Peas & Garlic
This is one of my favorite ways to serve in-season English Peas. The fresh peas pair well with a light white wine, such as a Sauvignon Blanc.
- ½ 1 large onion
- 2-3 TBL Sigona’s Fresh Press EVOO
- 1 TBL butter
- 2 oz. pancetta, diced
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 – 1 ½ lbs. fresh English peas, shelled (about 1-1 ½ cups when shelled)
- 1 pkg. of fresh Saporito pasta, any cut (or 8-10oz dried pasta)
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- Pecorino cheese, to taste (optional)
Directions: Cook pasta according to package directions (cook fresh pasta a couple minutes in boiling water for al dente pasta). Drain and keep warm.
Sauté the onion in EVOO over medium heat for about 3 minutes or until the onion is softened. Add the pancetta and sauté until just browned. Add the peas stirring them into the mix for a brief time so the peas absorb the flavors of the mix.
Add in 1 TBL butter, a little more EVOO and the garlic. Stir and cook for 1 minute, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add this mixture to the pasta of your choice. Season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with grated Pecorino cheese to taste.
English Peas with Fresh Herbs
Serves 4 as a side dish. Adapted from Vegetables Every Day.
- 2 lbs. fresh English Peas, shelled (about 2 ¼ cups when shelled)
- 1 TBL Sigona’s Fresh Press EVOO
- 2 TBL minced fresh parsley, basil, tarragon, chives and/or mint
- Salt & pepper, to taste
Begin by shelling the peas. Discard the pods.
Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan, add the peas and cook until tender (about 3-4 minutes). Drain and set aside. Heat EVOO in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the peas and cook, stirring gently to coat the peas in EVOO. Cook until hot, about 1 minute. Add the herbs, salt & pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
Italian Rice & Pea soup (Risi e Bisi)
The author notes this is a simple Venetian soup with a consistency somewhere between risotto and regular soup. You can omit the prosciutto, but it melts into the base and gives the soup a lovely flavor. Serves 4 as a main course.
- 1 TBL unsalted butter (see note in EVOO below)
- 2 TBL Sigona’s Fresh Press EVOO (note: you can omit the butter and use only EVOO if desired)
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 2 oz. prosciutto, diced
- 1 ½ cups Arborio rice (risotto rice)
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 lbs. fresh English peas, shelled (about 2 ¼ cups when shelled)
- 2 TBL fresh parsley, minced
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, optional
Heat the butter and EVOO in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and prosciutto and sauté until the onion is soft, about 3-5 minutes. Add in the rice and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring once or twice, until the rice is almost tender (about 15 minutes).
Add the peas and cook, uncovered, until the rice and peas are tender, about 7 minutes. Stir in the parsley, salt & pepper to taste.
Serve warm with grated cheese on top, if desired.
Fava Beans & Crispy Pancetta Salad with an English Pea, Pecorino & Mint Dressing
Luisa Ormonde, a Sigona’s Preferred Customer, submitted the following recipe for this really simple yet tasty dish for English Peas and fava beans (in season now!) that she spices up with peas, almonds, pancetta and more. Luisa, who is also a private chef in San Carlos, likes to use young peas and broad beans/favas when they’re in season; if you can’t find them, she suggests using edamame instead!
- 4 lbs. broad/fava beans, in their pods (makes about 4 cups peeled beans)
- 2 c. fresh English Peas, shelled
- 6 slices pancetta, chopped (or you can use 8 slices of applewood-smoked bacon)
- a handful of slivered almonds, toasted
- 1/2 c. mixture of both Pecorino and Parmesan cheese, grated
- a handful of fresh mint, leaves picked
- 8 TBL [Sigona’s Fresh Press] extra virgin olive oil
- juice of 1 or 2 lemons
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Directions: Prepare the beans and peas by shelling them and preparing them as follows.
To prepare the beans, first prepare an ice bath in a medium bowl. Set aside. Bring a few cups of water to a boil and add shelled peas and fava beans for 2 minutes. Drain and plunge boiled beans into the ice bath. Once cool to the touch, drain. Remove the outer skin of the fava beans by gently pinch the bean and slide out of the skin. Discard the skin. The peas are fine as is.
Place bacon on a baking tray, with the almonds spread out next to it. Place in a 475 degree oven, keeping an eye on the almonds to make sure they don’t color too much. The bacon should crisp in the same amount of time needed to toast the almonds, but simply remove one or the other if it is getting too far ahead.
To the bowl of beans and peas, add olive oil and 4-5 TBL of lemon juice, to taste. Add cheese and mint. Toss and season to taste – it should have an amazing flavor of sweet peas, tangy lemon, fragrant mint and a softness and roundness from the cheese. A balance is good, but you should also trust your own personal judgment.
Divide on plates. Sprinkle the bacon over and serve.