Freshly picked peas are delicious eaten fresh from the pod but are also a versatile veggie in many recipes. (Photo submitted)

A childhood pleasure remains

Cathi Litzenberger recalls summers of enjoying freshly picked peas in Armstrong

  • Jul. 12, 2017 1:30 a.m.

Cathi Litzenberger

Morning Star Columnist

From as far back as I can remember, fresh peas were my favourite spring vegetable, eaten raw fresh from the pods. In fact there was no stopping some of us from raiding gardens in the dark of night, once my dad’s peas were gone (and for this I still have regret and guilt).

As a youngster, I couldn’t wait for the times when we’d bike out to the pea fields growing for the Pea Growers in Armstrong where I grew up, to check on their ripeness. When we deemed them perfectly sweet and juicy, we’d sneak in and feast until our tummies couldn’t hold anymore. My apologies to the Heals.

Fresh sweet peas are the essence of spring and summer and the first recipe today combines simple emerald green vegetables cooked together briefly until their flavours just meld. The second recipe must be done in the spring with fresh peas. Careful not to get over-grown peas, which are woody. Look for smaller peas, and you will love this springtime pea medley. It’s beautiful too!

Fresh Peas with Lettuce and Green Garlic

4 tbsp. unsalted butter

5 small stalks green garlic, thinly sliced, or 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Kosher salt, to taste

1-1⁄2 cups fresh or frozen green peas

2 small heads butter lettuce (about 6 oz.), washed, cored, and torn into large pieces

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Heat 2 tbsp. butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat; add garlic, season with salt, and cook, stirring often, until soft but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add peas and cook until bright green and tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in remaining butter, along with lettuce and 1 tbsp. water, season with salt and pepper, and remove from heat. Stir until lettuce is just wilted, about 1 minute.

Spring Pea Medley with Edible Bowl

2 tablespoons butter

1 small sweet onion, diced

1 cup fresh shelled green peas

1/2 cup low-sodium, low-fat vegetable broth

1/2 pound sugar snap peas, trimmed

1/2 pound snow peas, trimmed

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

1 medium head radicchio

In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the onion and sauté until transparent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the green peas and the broth, and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the snap peas, snow peas and parsley, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook, covered, for about 3 more minutes.

Remove the inner leaves from the radicchio and spread the outer leaves out to make a bowl. Fill the hollow with the pea mixture and garnish with additional Italian parsley.

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