Thursday, July 22, 2010

Pass the Butter, Pass the Peas

A few years ago I learned the perfect method for cooking asparagus. A slow slog through a skillet of hot butter. It's fabulous.
You think I tried this method on any other vegetables? No, because I'm unimaginative. I know how to cook peas, and the way I cook them is how I cook them. M'kay?
(I've checked my archive and I see I am wrong. I also once used this method to cook baby carrots. Oooh.)
But. Mollie at Orangette was channeling an Italian recipe for English peas cooked slow in butter. A new way, to me. But familiar, because of the asparagus. It sounded good.
I may be unimaginative, but I'm a good thief. I immediately got a sack of peas and a little stack of sliced prosciutto. Garlic and scallion, already in the house. Butter. Spoons and spoons of butter.
You melt half the butter and cook the allium in it, then throw in the peas and the rest of the butter. Stir, coating the green orbs with unguent urgency (yeah). Keep cooking, for 10 minutes. It's not too long. The peas will be soft, but what's not to like? Salt and pepper, to taste.
Now, tear up your prosciutto and strew it over the peas. Cover the pan, heat off, and let it go for another five minutes. The prosciutto gets a little curly and (surprise) slightly crisp.
We ate a huge pile of this ambrosia for lunch. That's all we had. It hit on all the necessary food groups: round green things, butter, cured meat. It's really yummy. Especially with the La Quercia Prosciutto Piccante, which is flavored with a whirlwind of gentle (not hot) spices.
I will definitely have this again.
In the meantime, I think I might try a slow slog in butter with halved artichokes from my front yard. It could work.


Anonymous said...


I am thinking of joining your club, and trying it with green beans

cannot hurt, can it?

Greg said...

Heavens! That sounds sexy good.

Zoomie said...

I was skeptical when I read about this back in May on Molly's blog, but on your (and her) sayso, I'm going to try them. I happen to have prosciutto, a bag of frozen peas (that I've been using to ice my shoulder) and the rest of the ingredients, too. Tonight!

namastenancy said...

Slow slogs with butter and most kinds of vegetables is always delicious. I have done it with green beans, with various types of greens and yes, even peas.
Zoomie - I didn't know that you'd hurt your shoulder. Rest and ice and may it get better soon.

Chilebrown said...

Visualize Whirled Peas!

cookiecrumb said...

Sally: You must try it with green beans. Can't wait to hear how it comes out. Sweet and dark, I suspect.

Greg: Exactly, and very perceptive of you. Sexy good.

Zoomie: I hope your shoulder is benefiting from the frozen peas! Why don't you just get a sack of fresh peas at the market, and then you'll have all those empty pods to make vegetable stock with. Even if not, happy eating and best of health.

Nancy: If I don't try this with other vegetables from now on, I am uneducable.

Chilebrown: You hippie.

peter said...

They're filming a new Jane Fonda movie here in town, and this evening they created a mock protest, complete with drummers and Jane in a trippy Granny dress dancing with abandon and a hand-lettered sign.

So naturally, I thought of you.

The active flavor compounds in asparagus are water-soluble, so cooking in butter or oil is the only way to go.

Ms Brown Mouse said...

O YUM, yum, ooooo, I did not know there was such a buttery way to cook peas.

cookiecrumb said...

Peter: Let me help you imagine me. I wear Levi's 501s. Sometimes pretty shoes, sometimes Chucks. I have trouble with shirts, but I always wear one.
No granny dresses.
So, butter it is! Thanks for the science to buttress the butter.

Mouse: The butter turns into a sticky, sweet emulsion. It is magic.

kudzu said...

Had lovely La Quercia last week. Scott Howard is using it in a starter with nectarines (thin slices), young watercress and wide shaves of Parm. Delicious -- as I'm sure your peas were. (I would like to gild the proverbial lily and have some buttered mashed potatoes with them!)

Rev. Biggles said...

Yay !!! Peas worth eating, that's a nice one. Where'd you find them?

xo, Biggles

Zoomie said...

The peas I have seen at the farmer's market recently are all starch and no sugar - not nice.

cookiecrumb said...

Kudzu: The watercress we've been getting at the market is inedibly hot! But that sounds like such a nice dish. Our neighbor gave us a bag of peaches.

Biggles: Yeah, it's pretty awful good. We get fresh peas from Iacoppi at the market. Do they come to the East Bay? They're from Half Moon Bay.

Zoomie: I experienced a batch of starchy (Iacoppi) peas, and then decided to try again. They were smooth and luscious, either because it was a better crop, or because this cooking method creates gold!

namastenancy said...

I found this recipe for Chilled Pea Soup and added a bit of buttermilk for a more sour flavor. SF is cool and foggy but the soup still tasted good. I imagine that it would be even more delicious in hot weather:

Chilled Pea Soup with Herbs - Low Sodium Version

Servings = 4 | Serving size =about 1 1/2 cups

This recipe can be multiplied by 2, 3.

This recipe keeps for no more than about 48 hours.

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium white onions (sliced)
2 cups low sodium chicken broth (I added about 1 - 1/2 cups buttermilk which made for a more liquid broth)
1 lb frozen peas
2 cups fresh spinach
0 N/A fresh ground black pepper (to taste)
1 Tbsp fresh tarragon
2 Tbsp fresh parsley
1/4 cup fresh chives
1/4 cup fresh mint
3 ounces semi-soft goat cheese
Prepare a large mixing bowl filled with ice. The bowl should be large enough for the sauce pan to fit into and be surrounded by ice.

Place the olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat. When hot add the onions. Cook, stirring almost continuously, for about 8 minutes until the onions are translucent. Do not let the onions brown.

Add the chicken stock and increase the heat to high. Add the frozen peas.

Stir occasionally. When the soup begins to come to a boil reduce the heat slightly so that it continues to simmer.

Cook for about 5- 7 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the spinach and cook for another two minutes. Remove from the heat and add one cup of crushed ice.

Place the pan in the ice bowl and stir until the ice in the soup melts. When the soup is slightly cool add the salt, pepper, tarragon, parley, chives, mint and goat cheese.

Using a stick blender, or transferring to a blender in two batches, puree until smooth. Chill and serve.

Nutrition Facts
Serving size = about 1 1/2 cups
Servings = 4

Kevin said...

I have imagination. I don't have fresh peas. Deep sigh.

Anonymous said...

Ooooh, this sounds amazing. I have a ton of peas, nice fresh ones, ast home waiting to be covered in butter. I'm also wondering about radishes. What goes better together than radishes and butter, right?

cookiecrumb said...

Nancy: That's just a natural. I'll get that on the agenda; thanks!

Kevin: Go read Molly's recipe. It's OK to use frozen peas; she did.

Cozy: Yeah, get on it! Now, as for radishes, are you talking about cooking them in butter? That's awesome.

wwwFlossDietDotCom said...

...any leftover peas?
Mash them, mush them... add your fav. salsa, cover it with cheese... stick it under a broiler or microwave and serve it as a dip...

I love this blog. Hello eveyone!

cookiecrumb said...

Floss: Hello! Hi.
Pea dip? Why not, I've made fake guacamole from peas.

Anonymous said...

Just reporting back... loved the green beans made this way

my pictures did not turn out good - sigh - but I'm used to my poor skills in photography, it wasn't the first time, it won't be the last

so, no blog. But nice dinner! :-)

on a side note, I haven't been able to comment as SallyBR in ages. NOt sure why, it won't accept my ID. OH, well - no big deal, just wanted to let you know

cookiecrumb said...

Sally: Yeah, now I think all vegetables must be cooked this way. Congratulations on a fun improvisation.