Saturday, May 20, 2006

Will It Float?

As long the spring peas are abundant, I'm going to try eating them every which way. We've already had peas with chopped hard-cooked eggs and potatoes. We've had a pea omelet. On our list in the near future is a dish of fried rice with peas, carrots, mushrooms and onions.
Yesterday we had fresh pea soup. None of that Andersen's stuff, no sir.
But I seem to have made a few missteps along the way.
Not that the final product wasn't tasty. Oh. No, it was good.
It was made from a bunch of hulled peas, cooked in thawed vegetable stock along with a bit of spring onion that had been sauteed in butter and salt. (My vegetable stocks have been so deeply flavorful lately because I'm using lots of herbs.) Since I intended to serve the soup chilled, I waited until the end of cooking to add a good glug of buttermilk (didn't want it to separate due to the heat). This all went into the blender.
But the soup wasn't as thick as I would have liked, so I cooked a couple of small potatoes and pureed them with the pea soup mixture.
Well. Then I didn't think the soup had a pronounced enough pea flavor.
D'oh! I should have saved the pea pods and given them a good simmer in the vegetable stock first! Oh, well, next time.
So as a solution, I cooked up another handful of peas to use as garnish on the chilled pea soup.
They sank .


johng said...

Love chilled pea soup! Here's me pretending to teach the teacher: I like the sweetness and pea flavor you get from adding a few snap peas to the mix. And I love putting something in the middle, like crabmeat or a seared scallop on a dollop of creme fraishe topped with cavair.

cookiecrumb said...

Don't call me the teacher, my dear. I just learned something good from you. Oh, a seared scallop. Just one. How elegant. (Tummy rumble.)

Dagny said...

OK. It was bad enough reading your post but then I read John's comment. Now I am truly hungry. I guess I'd better head to the kitchen and deal with this problem.

Erin S. said...

on the pea pods tip--I recently not only cooked them in the stock but then pureed them (a food mill would be ideal) and added them to the soup (risi i bisi in my case) and it really amped up the pea flavor.

cookiecrumb said...

You can eat pea pods? OK! I imagine you'd want to sieve them, but yes, I'm going to experiment. Also gonna experiment with JohnG's snap peas. Mm.
Thank you all.

johng said...

I've never tried this, but if a scallop is good in the pea soup, and it is - you know what would be outrageous? A crispy medallion of sweetbread. Not that I ever mess with that stuff at home. That's what restaurants are for. A drizzle of white truffle oil would be in order.

Now at the risk of being a bad guest by hijacking your thread, Cookie, I will tell you my absolute favorite way to enjoy fresh peas. It's so simple but so good it hurts. Shell fresh peas. Cook in salted water for just a minute or so, then drain and put in a food processor. Pulse until the peas are not quite a puree, more like a rough crumb. Add a little chicken stock if they won't break down. Put in a saucepan over low heat and add a few tablespoons of chicken stock, cream, and a bunch of freshly grated parmesan.

If I'm doing a special-occasion dinner for my wife, she wants crab cakes with that stuff as a side dish. She likes her peas too.

cookiecrumb said...

John, my love, that's what threads are for. Hijackin' and sharin' and stuff.
OK, your pea puree sounds stunning, but I kept waiting for the part where you pile spoonfuls of it on toasted baguette slices! :)
Wow. Peas 'n' cheese. Delish.
(I've never done sweetbreads at home either. I tried to saute a slice of foie gras once, and it melted into nothing... So as you say, there are some things best left to cleverer kitchens.)

Passionate Eater said...

John G and Cookie, I've learned so much from the both of you! I'll have to pick up some peas at the Farmers Market ASAP. Cookie, with what I've been seeing you make lately, eating locally really is the way to go. (You even made eating meat out of the freezer look like the way to go!)

kudzu said...

I remember way back when, placing a wooden bowl of peas in their pods on the coffee table as an appetizer with drinks. (Shocked everyone used to getting cheese and crackers.) Still love to do that. Peas are soooo good right out of their shells. I also like them in a frittata with diced sauteed new potatoes and a bit of spring onion, all best at this time of year.

cookiecrumb said...

Kudzu: Bean Sprout loves raw peas. Little green candy balls. I think that was elegantly outre of you to serve them at cocktail parties! Your fritatta echoes what I keep coming back to with peas: eggs, potatoes, onions.
PE: Way to go, you! Guess what -- because we have such good local meat, but it's sold in such huge quantities, we're going to have a freezer deal again.