It was about a month ago when I returned home from a week long road trip to find that everything had bloomed, tulips, hyacinths, and gigantic magnolia and cherry trees had exploded with blushing blossoms, breathing life and beauty into the typically austere countryside. I kept on thinking that I'll stop and take pictures tomorrow. Tomorrow. Tomorrow. But ahhh... tomorrow never came. Before I knew it the delicate pink blossoms on the weeping cherry trees had swept away with the wind like confetti at the height of a big fiesta. The brilliant yellow petals of forsythias had withered away to make room for their flourishing verdant leaves and we were well into spring. Life happens while you are busy making other plans.
It's a lesson in capturing and making the most of the season, and that especially means in the kitchen. In season right now you will find tender spring onions, fresh mint, and sweet English peas, which go well into this simple buttery spring dish of peas and spring onions and mint. The recipe comes from Chef Mike Lata in the latest issue of Food and Wine. It calls for frozen peas, but fresh sweet peas can easily be used in place, simply cook the peas until tender.
- 1 pound frozen peas (4 cups)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 medium spring onions (bulbing), sliced 1/4 inch thick (3 cups)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 cups lightly packed tender pea shoots or small watercress sprigs
- 1/3 cup fresh mint leaves
- Freshly ground black pepper
In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the peas until they are just tender, about 3 minutes if frozen, longer if fresh. Drain. In the same saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the spring onions and a pinch of salt, cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 minutes. Stir in the peas, cover and cook until heated through, 1 minute. Stir in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Remove from the heat and stir in the pea shoots until wilted. Stir in the mint, season with salt and pepper and serve.