On the Subject of Peas
It is difficult to find fresh shelled peas in our area… this puzzles me, as we have a fairly mild spring, and states such as North Carolina and Tennessee, with their sandy soil are the perfect regions for the plants to grown. I digress… and am resolved to purchasing fresh peas at the market the moment I find them. Yes, I have tried growing them at home, but the only spot in our garden with enough sun for these plants is also home to our chickens, and they love peas as much as we do. By far, the worst market peas come from Giant Food, I do not recommend buying fresh peas there, and you are better off using frozen [which is not recommended for the following recipe]. The best options are Trader Joes, and not surprisingly Dean & Deluca. Now, I would have to have a gun held to my head and be in desperate need of peas to buy them at Dean & Deluca, but the peas are good… although the bags for 2.99 at the Trader Joes up the street are much more within my [and your] budget. Of course, you should really be buying your peas at a farmer’s market… although not always an option.
Peas are simple, they require no special handling, unless you buy them in the pod and all they need is a quick boil in salted water to bring out their lovely color and flavor. I am in the camp of under-cooking peas slightly. I like the sound of snapping into them with every bite. You may not like this, so, adjust the cooking time until you reach the desired tenderness. Preferably, for this English Pea and Red Onion Salad, the peas should be slightly undercooked, otherwise the dressing will just render it a mess and all you will have is mushy peas. A batch of this salad never lasts more than an afternoon at chez Angelica and is perfect for a picnic, snack, starter, BBQ, breakfast. . . whatever your heart desires.