One of my favorite childhood activities was to shell fresh peas, sitting at my grandmother’s kitchen table. The bigger the pile, the happier I was because I’d devised a little reward system: for every ten pea pods I’d shell, I’d eat the content of the next one!
My grandmother was quite aware that having me shell her peas would cost her a good amount of the harvest. She also knew that it would take me a while to get through my pile, as I would linger and relish each candy-like little green treat. Looking back, I am so grateful to her for her patience.
Today, I eagerly await the fresh pea season, which in the Northeast of United States, can never arrive soon enough for me.
Here fresh peas are blanched and then barely sautéed with a little garlic, sweet basil and fresh mint from my herb garden – utterly succulent… and perfect as a side veggie or as part of an antipasti.
Fresh peas with basil and mint
active time: 30 min
- 8 oz (225 g) sugar snap peas – stem ends trimmed and cut in half on the diagonal
- 3 cups shelled fresh or frozen peas (if frozen, do not thaw)
- 1 tablespoon sea salt for the blanching water
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 6 large garlic cloves – skinned and finely sliced
- 16 large basil leaves – torn in 1” pieces
- 12 large mint leaves – torn in 1” pieces
- 1 teaspoon sea salt to taste
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Step 1: Fill a large bowl with cold water and several ice cubes. Set aside. Fill a large heavy-bottomed pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the salt and the peas. Blanch for 2 minutes until the peas are tender, but still crunchy. Drain and transfer to the ice water bath until cool. Drain on paper towels and set aside. Repeat with the sugar snap peas.
- Step 2: Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, garlic, basil and mint and sauté for 2 minutes until herbs are wilted and garlic pale golden. Add the peas, toss well and sauté for an additional 1 minute until warmed through. Add the salt and pepper, toss again and remove from heat. Transfer to a bowl. Serve warm as a side vegetable or room temperature as an antipasti.