Photo Credit: A. Kane
Okay, I cheated a bit. But with good reason. When I lived on the West Coast, peas were among the first local, springtime vegetables to hit the markets. I would go to the farmers’ markets and see piles of oblong pods, some still clinging to the tender vines. I would buy a pound, and most of the time they never even made it home with me. Walking back to my apartment popping open the pods and munching the sugar-sweet peas housed inside, signaled that spring was here.
If you live somewhere where fresh peas are available, or better yet, have a small lot of land to grow you’re your own, you know of what I speak. Now I live in New England, and spring hasn’t quite sprung here yet. But in order to eat in a more springtime fashion, I’ve used the next best thing—frozen peas.
I have found that peas are one of the best frozen vegetables available. Sure you can’t eat them out of hand, but they are picked at the peak of the season, so they are always sweet, and bursting with flavor. You can add them to risotto, sprinkle them in pasta, or just have them as a basic side dish. But I like to have them in a minted pea mash.
Mint is also one of those flavors that screams springtime to me. With just a little bit of freshly chopped mint, a handful of peas, and some earthy potatoes, you can have a delightfully green, supremely springy side dish at your next meal.
Minty Mushy Peas
5 medium white or Yukon old potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 ½ cups frozen peas
1 tablespoon butter
½ cup milk
1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
salt and pepper to taste
In a large saucepan, full of salted water, bring the potatoes to a boil. Cook for 7 minutes, or until potatoes are almost completely cooked. Add peas, and return pot to a boil. Cook for an additional 3 minutes. Drain peas and potatoes and return to the hot pot.
Add butter and milk, and mash by hand, until no chunks of potato remain, and the peas are smashed. Add mint, and continue to mash. Taste for additional seasoning, and serve.
Adrienne Kane is a writer and photographer. She is the author of a memoir, Cooking and Screaming, and the food blog, nosheteria.com.