Finally! We moved, but it’s not all smooth sailing yet. We’re living out of boxes and we don’t have a kitchen yet. While our perfect kitchen is being built (which we will be talking about soon), I’m going to have to get crafty. I do have many plug-in appliances (rice cooker, toaster oven, panini press, waffle maker, microwave, etc.) so we’re still going to have a ball here. I think we’re going to be pleasantly surprised with how much I (or you) can do without a kitchen. (Gulp) Determined to eat well every single day without exceptions, here goes…

I get the favorites questions a lot. What’s your favorite restaurant? What’s your favorite dish to make? What’s your favorite cuisine? I simply can’t answer a question like that. It’s like choosing a favorite child. After being asked this question for the billionth time, I sat deep in thought, on the train, trying to drown out the sounds of the obnoxious guy playing music on his ipod. (Dude, it’s called headphones!) Could I pick a favorite if I really tried?

With serious effort, I still could not. Instead, I realized that I could categorize all foods into three categories (I think). Let’s say roughly 40% fall into favorites, 10% into not-so-favorite, and 50% into that middle ground. Notice that I don’t have dislikes because I really don’t. I eat everything that is considered real food and though there are a few things that I don’t order myself, I still take a bite if Lon has it on his plate.

Fresh Pea Salad in a spoon 12

So, from now on, I have three categories: favorites like cherries, burrata, clams, French fries, steak, fresh pasta, cumin…middles like baked potato, iceburg lettuce, popcorn, chicken breast… and not-so-favorites like avocado, shiso, and bitter melon.

For as far back as I can remember, mint has always been in the not-so-favorite category. As a child, I felt left out because I didn’t like mint chocolate chip ice cream. To me, it reminded me of toothpaste. I’m still not a fan of the mint jelly often served with lamb (though lamb is a favorite) but I started to find that I do like mojitos.

During two recent restaurant outings, I discovered that I like mint when paired with fresh peas (a definite favorite). We had a Spring Pea Ravioli with Mint, at White Barn Inn, that felt refreshing when pastas don’t often feel that way. At Otto One Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10003, we had a side dish of fresh peas with prosciutto, dotted with mint. To my own disbelief, I was in love, with a dish that had mint. This recipe for Fresh Peas with Mint is actually inspired by my memory of that one, only I had ham in the fridge so I used that instead of prosciutto. Vegetarians can exclude the ham, and it will still be good.

Fresh Pea Salad in a spoon

If you haven’t had fresh shell peas, now is the time to try it. They’re available at the farmer’s markets and you will be blown away by how different they are from frozen or canned peas. The mint in this dish adds by highlighting the fresh vibrancy of the little balls or green goodness. It’s not that I just tolerate the mint. Cheers to peas and mint!

Fresh Peas with Mint
~2 to 4 sides

  • 1 cup fresh peas (about 1 lb in shell)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped shallot or red onion
  • 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped ham
  • 3/4 teaspoon finely chopped mint
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black peppper

Instructions -

1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare a bowl of salted ice water on the side.

2. Add peas to boiling water and allow to cook for about 2 minutes. It varies by 30 seconds or so with size of peas so just taste it and when they’re just cooked (tender with snap, not soft) remove and throw into ice water bath. Drain peas thoroughly and set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, combine shallot/onion, sherry vinegar, olive oil, and mustard. Add peas, ham, and mint, and toss. Season to taste. Serve or store in the fridge covered until serving. Serve same day.

Fresh Shell Peas Salad

posted by jessica at 01:45 PM Filed under American, Recipes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.