I hate peas. My husband loves peas. This culinary impasse of sorts doesn’t cause us too many problems, because my husband also loves me and doesn’t care (overly much) that I hardly ever make them.
But sometimes I do.
I make them because I’m a grownup and I should like peas. I’ve overcome nearly every food aversion I have ever had. Liver? Check. (Especially fois gras…pâté isn’t too bad either). Caviar? Check. (Especially when served at the French Laundry). Beans? Check. (I don’t know why, but I hated them as a kid). I figure that if I keep trying peas, someday I’m bound to like them too, right?
But mostly I make them because I love my husband. And he loves peas.
I feel like I’m going in circles here….
When I do make peas, I tend to serve them on the underdone side. Crunchy, fresh peas are admittedly quite good. They are sweet, bright, and grassy…like those early days of spring. But if they are cooked one second too long, they turn soft & musky (and therefore loathsome to me).
One thing that helps peas, even cooked peas, become more palatable is the sauce that dresses them. I like it to be assertive and tangy…spicy even…not to disguise the flavor, but rather improve upon it. Accentuate it. Bring out its best side.
That’s how this dish was born. Lightly cloaked in a mint jalapeño vinaigrette, the peas sing in my mouth. It’s a song that I almost like upon first listen, and dare I say that it’s a song that could even become a favorite if I listen to it enough.
How about you…are there any vegetables that you don’t like?
- 2 tablespoons grape seed oil (or canola oil)
- 12 medium brussels sprouts
- 1 cup freshly shelled English peas
- 1/2 cup diced shallot, divided
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- salt and pepper, to taste
For the Dressing:
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
- 1/2 a jalapeño, seeded, de-veined and diced
- 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
- 2 tablespoons jalapeño-infused olive oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Stem and halve the brussels sprouts. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the grape seed oil and heat one minute. Add the brussels sprouts, and saute, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, or until the sprouts start to color and become tender. Add the peas, shallots and butter, stirring until the butter is melted. Add the wine and simmer for 1-2 minutes more, until the wine is nearly cooked off. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Make the dressing. Put the mint, jalapeño, vinegar, and oil in a blender. Pulse until smooth. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
- Toss the dressing with the brussels sprouts and peas. Taste for seasoning and serve immediately.
Article Courtesy: Alison Needham