Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Seasonal, Peasonal

Before I truly understood eating seasonally, I'd get a notion in my head for some dish, and foolishly try to find ingredients that made no sense for the time of year.
I remember once being really surprised, and really annoyed, that I couldn't find fresh tomatoes. In February.
Another time I was crafting a New Year's Eve menu and dreamed up the dish pictured here. (Hm. Last day of December. No fresh peas; guess I'll go try the freezer section. And smoked salmon — doesn't that just come in plastic packages all year-round?) I got it made (linguini with crème fraîche, cooked peas, bits of smoked salmon, and black pepper), and it tasted nice enough to create again, all these years later. But this time I waited until spring, when the English peas are in the market and the gently smoked wild salmon is — well, yes, in a plastic package.


Stacie said...

I might have to move to Alaska, so I can eat local, and have my smoked salmon too! Man, that looks yummy!! Luckily, my bro and sis inlaw live in AK and come to visit a few times of year, with salmon they caught and smoked themselves!!! All out, need a visit.

Beccy said...

Looks delicious. I was given a feshly caught salmon last year, it was delicious.

KathyF said...

Sometimes I think peas are my favorite vegetable, then other times I think green beans. But mostly it's peas.

Beautiful photo of peas.

Sam said...

good job. yes.

Jennifer Maiser said...

I have to admit to using frozen peas every once in a while (I think they are pretty good compared to other frozen/canned veggies) but I hold a special place in my heart for the couple months a year I can make spaghetti carbonara with fresh peas. Yum.

Anita said...

Well, at least it was gorgeous :)

As for frozen veg... I can't last without corn for the 7-9 months that it's not in season, so I do buy the C&W Petite White Corn in the bag. It's pretty good if you remember to (a) wash the "protective coating" of ice crystals off the kernels in a strainer (b) keep the bag tightly closed in a zip-loc bag with all the air removed and (b) reheat just until the corn is warmed through. It nearly killed me to eat my locavore meatloaf without corn during the Challenge. :D

ChrisB said...

oh yes another one for me but I could easily adapt embee's with another veg

Leena said...

I am the same way! Tomato soup in winter, Artichokes in fall..I've even made sorbet in the winter. I don't think of it so much as backwards...I'm just a culinary rebel! Plus, my stomach controls my thoughts 90% of the time!
Great post!

Susan said...

Moving to Southern California has turned me into a seasonal eater. Once a particular crop runs its course, I lament its end but look forward to its return the following year. We're fortunate to live in a state where seasonal eating is so easy and delicious.

Tea said...

I'll confess to tracking down a woefully-out-of-season eggplant this week for Indian food, but I take ethnic food as my "exemption." I mean, come on, that mango and coconut milk ain't ever going to be in season where I live.

But the peas, I wait for them.

Udderly Delicious said...

That's so funny. I feel so foolish for they way I used to cook, making dishes on a whim. A couple weeks ago, I was flipping through a cookbook and saw a recipe for berry crostada and thought "Yeah!"

Then it hit me like a ton of bricks, raspberries and blueberries aren't in season! I settled on the lemon pound cake since there were so many great Meyers at the market.

It's nice looking forward to things, knowing that there's a special time of year for each item and lamenting its passing...

Anna Haight said...

Seasonal attitude is one of the things I like best about 'real' Japanese cooking. Each thing has its passing moment and its peak season. My first job was in a Marine store just outside of Seattle where I grew up -- the Indian fisherman used to bring me gifts of salmon just-caught -- there's nothing like fresh wild salmon!

Dagny said...

Ooooo. More peas. Yum! Now I keep having visions of sugar peas.

El said...

If we look deeper into the eating-in-season thing, we'll see that many of our fave dishes indeed comply to some kind of farmer sense: I give you strawberry-rhubarb pie as an example.

But peas. As a grower, I am both excited by and immensely jealous of my harvest. (I also eye the real estate alloted to the pea plants with a bit of remorse: all that land for only 1/3 of a season, hurry up and GROW already.) It takes a lot of energy to grow even the most measly bowl of peas, and then there's the shucking and all that eating before they hit the pot. As a cost/benefit thing, they're really not as useful as a potato, say, but hoo boy are they good eating.

Katie said...

When we lived in Ireland we used to ride our bikes, take the ferry, and go to Cobh Island to get our smoked salmon....I REALLY miss that!
But now we have a truck that comes buy with home cured hams...

Melissa said...

This is one of my favorite simple dishes! Salmon, ham, what have you. Fresh peas are so yummy!

cookiecrumb said...

Stacie: My dad was stationed in Alaska while he was in the Navy, and he and the fellas caught wild salmon and smoked it. Candy! (Your brother could, ahem, *mail* you some?)

Beccy: I can only imagine. Commercial salmon season just began here in California; I'll be at the fishmonger's soon.

KathyF: Yeah, peas. Green beans are good workhorses, but kind of watery and not as flavory.

Sam: Yes. (thanks)

Jen: Peas, I think, are the one vegetable you can use successfully from the freezer aisle. My mistake has always been buying a huge plastic bag of them, to economize, and then the rest of it just gets all frostbitten.
Ooh. Pea-carbonara!

Anita: Silly me, I'm just throwing the bag back into the freezer with a twist-tie.
Anyway. Frozen corn? Hm! Also, I think those silly pearl onions are OK frozen.

ChrisB: Keeping in mind that these little peas are sweet, chewy little bombs. I wonder what else you might choose.

Leena: I've been known to eat raw oysters in "R"-less months! And lived to tell the tale.

Susan: The upside of living through the end of a beloved crop's season is then having to find out what's next to eat. You can learn a lot about chard and winter squash that way. :D

Tea: Welcome to your new Seattle home. What's in season?

UD: That's exactly right. You do your penance, waiting, but then you get your reward. Besides: lemon pound cake? You win!

Anna: That is just too lucky. I'm twitching because I know shad roe is in season (but not local).

Dagny: I found out sugar snap peas are a hybrid of snow peas and English peas. You probably knew that. (But maybe sugar peas are different?)

El: I appreciate your perspective. I had plans to grow peas in a pot this spring, but something intervened... I might still try. But I didn't know they were so, um, "roomy" and needed so much work. Shucking -- I will gladly do that.

Katie: You're killin' me.

Melissa: Funny, isn't it? So easy, and so elegant. Well, the definition of elegant is "simple," among other things... xx

Tea said...

What's in season in Seattle? Not much! Getting better, but it's not been pretty. I feel like I'm still eating from the California foodshed, I just don't live there anymore (sigh). But the farmers' markets are starting up this month, there's hope.