Sunday, June 20, 2010

Julia Child's Buttered Peas

After an impulse decision to buy 2 lbs. of fresh peas at Haymarket, I searched for a recipe that would do them justice.  I pursued my usual websites (food blogs, epicurious, nytimes) but couldn't find anything that I wanted to make or had all the ingredients for.  I was stuck for a while, but then realized I had overlooked the cookbooks sitting on the shelf next to me.  With so much available online, I often forget about actual printed recipes.  This time however, I shut my computer and opened Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Julia, of course, had three recipes for buttered fresh peas, differing by the maturity of the pea.  The first recipe was for "very tender, sweet" peas, the next for "large but tender" and the last for "large, rather tough" end of season peas.  I assumed I had something in the middle, and went with the second recipe.

The recipe serves 6, but I cut it in half because there were only two of us for dinner.  You begin by shelling the peas, a very easy task.  They pop right out of the shells.  Because raw peas are quite starchy, Julia directs you to boil them for 5-10 minutes until almost tender (mine took about 7).  After they are drained, they are returned to the pot along with butter, sugar, salt, pepper and optional mint (I added it, I think it really makes the recipe).  They continue to cook for another 10 minutes until they are done.  They were so much sweeter than any other peas I've eaten, and had a lovely crunch I think is lost in the freezer.

Buttered Peas
Serves 6

3 c. shelled fresh green peas
1-2 tbs. sugar, depending upon the sweetness of the peas
6 tbs. butter
2 tbs. fresh mint

1. Bring salted water to a boil.  Cook the peas until they are not quite tender, about 5-10 minutes.  Drain.

2. Return the peas to the pot over medium heat.  Let the excess water evaporate, then add the butter, sugar, mint, 1/4 tsp. salt and pepper to taste.  Stir to coat, then cook for an additional 10 minutes over very low heat.  Taste and add more salt or pepper as needed.  Serve.

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